The Power of a Dangerous Prayer

by Laura Hodges Poole  (reprinted with permission)

“When an answer I did not expect comes to a prayer which I believed I truly meant, I shrink back from it; if the burden my Lord asks me to bear, be not the burden of my heart’s choice, and I fret inwardly and do not welcome His will, then I know nothing of Calvary love.”—Amy Carmichael, missionary.

Prayer has been called many things, but I doubt few consider it dangerous. How would you characterize something which has the potential to end your existence as you know it?

That doesn’t make sense, you might be thinking. Prayer is a solace place we enter to meet God. We bare our souls, share our heartaches, offer petitions, and intercede for others. Sounds like a neat, safe place to abide. And it is.

But suppose you yearn for a deeper, richer relationship with God—to live fully in a manner you’ve not fathomed before. Are you willing to push your spiritual life outside of its comfort zone and into the danger zone to do so?

The five scariest words we could utter during prayer, many people don’t—or won’t. Praying these words mean death—death to self—an end to selfish desires and the beginning of God’s desires to define our lives.

Safety nets are stripped away—power is relinquished.

The five words?

Not my will, but Yours.

Now, let’s get real for a moment. I mean really real. Think of the most monumental problem you’re facing. You may even have a pretty good idea of how to solve it, if everything would just work out the way you imagine. Are you willing to turn loose of your solution?

Makes your heart skips a beat to consider giving the problem to God, then utter, “not my will, but Yours,”—and mean it!

My sister Teresa shared her insights on my last post When God Comes Calling, and they are applicable to this post, as well:

“This hits home for me. I prayed a prayer that my pastor encouraged us to pray one night; a prayer that God show me what HE wanted me to do for Him (not telling Him what I wanted). A few days later, I was headed to Jonesville, VA, on an ASP trip [after a last minute cancellation of another team member]. What a blessing that mission trip was to me! I prayed that specific prayer a month ago, and 2 days later my husband was transferred to Brunswick, Ga. Now, I’m praying that prayer to see what God has in store for me to do to honor Him in Brunswick. I learned a long time ago, it’s not about me, it’s about what I can do for His glory.”

Teresa has left Florida only a handful of times in the last thirty years and has never lived outside of the state. At age 53, she is embarking on new endeavors because she yielded control of her life to God.

Is the unknown scary? Sure. Has God’s will pushed Teresa outside of her comfort zone? Most definitely. However, the blessings she has experienced as a result of praying those five scary words are immense.

Though you’re not guaranteed instant gratification or easy solutions to your petitions, God’s will provides the perfect answer. Christ prayed the same words when he faced death on a cross (Luke 22:42). God’s answer didn’t spare Jesus’ life—instead it granted life to millions of others.

Let me add one caveat. Please don’t hear me say what I’m not. There’s nothing wrong with goals and desires. God gives us those desires (Ps. 37:4). He designed man to yearn for progress. The million dollar question is—Are you willing to give those desires back to God and say, not my will, but yours, and trust Him to bless you?

God’s answer often weaves a beautiful pattern which, in hindsight, you marvel over its brilliance. He doesn’t grant that beforehand—only after you’ve exercised faith by relinquishing control.

So, are you ready to pray dangerously by submitting to the Ultimate Power? I’d love to hear from you about how God has worked in your life when you’ve done so.