God is at work. Miracles are happening. I now have no doubt of God’s love; His ability and desire to heal – and I know that I should be stepping up to the line to take my part. So why do I feel that my prayers have all the authority of a dead mackerel?
I, and a small group of friends, have taken to following the Wanderlust movies with great enthusiasm. If you haven’t seen any of them, then do. We started off by watching ’Finger of God’, and then rapidly moved on to ’Furious Love’, ’Father of Lights’ and ’Holy Ghost’. During the same period, I was also reading Robby Dawkins’ book ’Do What Jesus Did’.
And I would love to be able to tell you that I’m a changed woman. I certainly felt an undeniable call to action; I was lifted up, encouraged, enthused; but I don’t think that I can claim to have moved forward as much as would have persuaded Robby Dawkins to give himself a delighted pat on the back and start writing his memoirs.
For example, do I have the courage, in appropriate circumstances, to sensitively ask complete strangers on the street, or non-Christian friends if they’d like me to pray for them and ask for healing?
I am sorry to say that the answer is ’no’. My prayers are still reserved for ’safe’ situations. So many opportunities for God to pour out His love and grace are being missed, because I don’t step up to the line.
In Acts 2:17 it says ’In the last days I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams’.
Well, we are in the last days, and have been ever since Christ anointed us with Holy Spirit and ascended to Heaven; so why am I so lacking when it comes to striking out and ’doing what Jesus did’?
In fact, ’lacking’ is far too gentle a word for it. There are moments when, I can’t help feeling that I am the wimp at the bottom of the pile.
I have made a few changes… I’m now stopping to chat with ’down and outs’ in the street to find out when they last ate – only three times so far, but getting easier – then, having bought them a cup of coffee and a bacon roll and sat down with them to find out how they’re doing and how they came to be where they are, I have asked if I could pray for them. It also has to be noted that on each occasion they were very happy for me to do so; someone that cared enough to give a little bit of time and kindness was much appreciated.
But, oh boy! When I pray in these exposed situations, I feel as though my prayers are lacking something. I certainly feel huge compassion for the people I am praying for, but…
I guess I’m a work in progress.
I also, now, have no doubt of God’s ability and desire to heal – His love for the people I am praying for. So why do I feel that my prayers have all the authority of a dead mackerel?
I’m trying to work out what it is in me that can’t take that final step of totally trusting God in exposed situations.
I feel far more exposed when I pray for either a complete stranger, or a friend in a ’secular’ environment than I ever would praying in a Christian environment, and I certainly feel more exposed and vulnerable when praying for these people than I ever would performing on stage in front of any size of audience.
Why do I have the feeling that Robby Dawkins’ prayers would be so much more effective than mine?
Is it that I have somehow not quite grasped the fact that God is everywhere? Or is it that although I know He will turn up in critical situations when His people turn up for Him, maybe I haven’t quite grasped that He will even turn up for me? Is it that devil doubt ’I’m-not-worth-it’ thing?
And critically, there’s this, lurking at the back of my mind , if I ask to pray for people and absolutely nothing obvious happens as a result, am I being any kind of ambassador for God? Aren’t I just being a nuisance?
So. This is what I’ve come to so far:
Maybe I need to learn to trust God to the extent that I will pray, regardless of what the outcome should or shouldn’t be. Maybe God can accept that I might not trust Him completely, but what He wants is for me to stand. To show up to the party. To risk my own exposure. To say “OK, I might be about to make a fool of myself – but that’s OK; because Jesus risked far more than that for me.”
Maybe I shouldn’t be praying with an end objective in sight. Maybe I should be doing what Abraham did when he placed his son Isaac on the alter; when he completely placed his first love, his hopes, his ambitions at the mercy of God. I don’t believe for one second that he was confident of what God would do; but because he gave it over to his Lord completely, then it was possible for a nation to be built.
Maybe I should be going out and praying for people, simply because that is what God has asked me to do. The rest is up to Him.
Then, perhaps, I’ll be able to hear what He is asking me to pray for in each situation.
I’ll give God the glory when a person is healed, and give Him the glory when they’re not healed; the miracles – or not – are all His.
Not mine; either to be proud of or shamed by.
And while I’m sorting out my humility, summoning my courage and deciding whether it’s all worth the risk, I’ll remember that Christ was crucified on a cross with all the pain and humiliation that went alongside – knowing that we, who He was doing it for – might never come to accept Him as our saviour.
But still He turned up. He took the risk. He stood.
As I say, I’m a work in progress, I suspect you’ll hear more from me on this topic.
- Robby Dawkins book – Do what Jesus Did, is published by Chosen, a division of Baker Publishing Group and can be purchased through all good retailers.
- Also thanks to Robby Dawkins for permission to use his photograph. What a nice man.
- The films Furious Love, Finger of God, Father of lights and Holy Ghost produced by Darren Wilson can be found on the internet from Wanderlust productions http://www.wpfilm.com.