Today marks the first day of our 40 Days of Prayer and Fasting. I am so excited to focus our hearts and minds upon the radiance and beauty of Jesus. One of my favorite authors, A.W. Tozer, has written a beautiful prayer:
“God, I have tasted Thy goodness and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need of further grace. I am ashamed at my lack of desire; I want to want Thee, I long to be filled with longing. I thirst to be made more thirsty. Show me thy glory. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. In Jesus name, Amen.”
As you begin this magnificent journey of knowing Christ more, Tozer’s prayer is my prayer for you and me. I have no greater desire than to see the people of FSBC thirstier for Jesus. I pray God will have favor upon us and show us His glory. Take time to walk this 40-day journey with me. If you did not pick up a 40 Day Guide on Sunday, remember, you can find it on our website at fsbcsalina.com.
One of my favorite prayer passages is found in Luke 11. As you begin this 40-Day journey with me, take a moment to look at Luke 11:5-13. In April of 2017, I asked the church to pray an audacious prayer. We began to pray, asking God to help us pay off the remaining debt on our building by the end of 2018. At the time, it was well over $200,000. In 2018, we paid off over $170,000 which brought our debt load to zero. As we approach Easter, ask God what our next audacious prayer will be. A church should always be doing something that stretches them, something that scares them, something they genuinely believe could not be done unless God intervened. That is an audacious prayer. I like verse 8 of Luke 11 in the 2011 NIV: “I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.” Here’s the lesson: If a tired and stubborn neighbor is willing to meet his friend’s need, how much more is our loving heavenly Father willing to meet the needs of his children? Therefore, pray and don’t give up!
What are the traits of praying with shameless audacity?
- Be Bold – Ask of God great things. Remember, He is able “to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us” (Eph 3:20). How dare we not ask God to do great and mighty things for His glory. What are we doing that only God could accomplish? What should we attempt that will bring great glory to God?
- Be Expectant – When you pray, do you pray with doubt or in great faith? When you pray, expect God to answer. Pray as if you believe He can answer you. Pray as if you believe He cares enough about you to answer and pray as if He is wise enough to give you what you need. Throughout the Luke 11 text, it says things like, “the door will be opened,” and “everyone who asks receives…” God does answer prayer. Expect Him to answer. Do we pray so little because we expect so little?
- Be Persistent – Why do you give up so easily in prayer? The text says to ask, seek and knock. It has the idea of keep asking, keep seeking and keep knocking. Don’t give up.
- Be Filled – Notice, Jesus talks about His Father giving the Holy Spirit. Spirit-filled praying is the key in audacious prayer. Why are our prayers so feeble? Could it be that we do all the talking in our prayers? Romans 8 reminds us when we don’t know what to pray, the Spirit intercedes for us (See Romans 8:26-27). Could it be we never pray with Spirit-filled power because we always know what to pray for and never stop talking in prayer? One of the great aspects of an audacious prayer is listening. Stop talking. Admit you don’t know the heart of God as you desire. Beg the Spirit to pray for you.
For many Christians, our prayers are too small, too few, and too selfish. During these forty days, begin again to pray audacious prayers. Seek the face of God. Ask Him during this time what our next audacious prayer should be. The audacious prayer will stretch FSBC. It will make us uncomfortable, make us feel overwhelmed and weak. But the audacious prayer will also bring much glory to God. Pray as if we believe the God of the universe is ready to answer our prayer for His glory and the good of others.