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Los Lunas Cornerstone

Church of the Nazarene

Radical Prayers

    Who has come to the realization that prayer is our life-line? That prayer is our link to a real, tangible relationship with God? That prayer is the necessary and vital key to experiencing the kingdom of God come on earth? I started a journey with the Lord two years ago about prayer, and He began to shake up my view of prayer. It’s a journey I’m still on, and He keeps showing me new things about prayer and what it means and how important it is for those who walk with Him.
    Today, we’re going to do another prayer service, at least in part. These are important for the church as a whole, because prayer is not an individual sport. Prayer is a team sport, and while we can work on that discipline individually, we must have team practices to grow as a body that is meant to be unified in spiritual matters. Corporate prayer together as a whole body is meant to teach us how to pray in our individual quiet times.
    Today, during our prayer service, I want us to focus on radical prayers. There are actually a lot of radical prayers that are talked about in the Bible, but these are five radical prayers that the Lord led me to, that go against what our human comfort and inclination is. These go against what we think the norm should be. These go against what we would prefer to do in our lives. They are challenging prayer focuses that threaten to change us in radical ways. But God doesn’t call us to be comfortable. He doesn’t call us to stay the same. He doesn’t call us to walk in the ways of the world.
    The first radical prayer I have listed in your bulletin is for humility. I don’t have any blanks in your bulletin this week, but what I want to encourage you to do is to take notes on any point that strikes you as something different than what you have done before. If you think something the Word says about these prayer focuses is challenging, write it down.
    Humility is the first one, like I said. There’s two parts to praying for humility that will radically change us if we let it. The first is to pray for your humility before the Lord. James 4:6 tells us, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” The Lord desires for His people to be humble before Him.
    It’s really the only appropriate heart-posture to have before Him. He is after all, the one who created everything we see and everything we can’t see; the one who knows you better than you know yourself; the one who sees the unseen; the one who exists outside of time itself. If we come before Him full of pride, we come to Him foolishly.
    Micah 6:8 tells us this, “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” The Lord requires we walk humbly with Him.
    We are to understand that His knowledge is limitless; that His wisdom is infinite. He knows all and sees all. Remember, Proverbs 3 tells us not to lean on our own understanding! In humility, recognize that He has the all the answers we need to anything we might want to know and He invites us to walk with Him.
    2 Chronicles 7:14 also comes with this reminder, “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
    Humility is a necessary step in coming to the Lord for forgiveness. Repentance starts with humility before Him. Walking with the Lord starts with repentance of our sins and acceptance of the Lord’s sovereignty over our lives, so without humility, a relationship with the Lord isn’t truly possible. If there’s any one thing that must be constant in our walk with God, it’s humility.
    But there’s two parts to praying for humility, remember? We want to pray for continued and renewed humility before God, but radical prayers for humility also include a prayer for humility before others. All others, not just other believers, or other believers we get along with.
    Look at Philippians 2:3-4, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” In humility, value others above yourselves. Romans 12:10 says to think of others as better than yourself. Ephesians 4:2 says, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
    This humility before others comes from a deep understanding that God created the other person just in the same way He created you: in His image. This humility comes from a deep understanding that God loves that other person just as much as He loves you. This humility for others comes from a deep understanding that Jesus died for that person’s sins just the same as He died for your sins, and that despite how horrible we might think their sins are, salvation is available to them just the same as it was available to us.
    Praying for this type of humility before God and others is bold and radical, but it has the potential to bring about incredible change in your life and the life of the church. It is one of the most radical prayers the church can pray.
    Here’s another radical prayer for the church: to pray for the Lord’s justice. We have assurance that His ways are higher than our own, and so we can trust that His justice is higher than our own justice. In fact, His justice is perfect. Psalm 94 tells us that it is the Lord who enacts justice, since He knows what justice truly is.
    “For I, the Lord, love justice; I hate robbery and wrongdoing. In my faithfulness I will reward my people and make an everlasting covenant with them.” The Lord loves justice, He said so Himself as we read here in Isaiah 61:8. He always acts justly. A radical prayer for us to pray is for the Lord to act against the injustices of the world. To right the wrong; to work against evil; to work on behalf of the oppressed. The interesting thing about praying for the Lord’s justice to be done is that His perfect justice doesn’t negate His perfect mercy. Justice and mercy isn’t 50/50 for God, it’s 100/100. He is always just and perfectly so, and He is always merciful and perfectly so, and both attributes of God are in balance.
    Praying for the Lord’s justice will also lead us to pray that we, His people, will act in His justice, too. Micah 6:8 tells us this, “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” He requires that we walk in His balance of justice and mercy. To act justly the way He does isn’t always easy, which is why it’s such a radical prayer for us to pray. Especially when we consider this verse from Isaiah 1:17.
    “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” This is part of what the Lord’s justice looks like. Doing right, defending the oppressed, taking up the cause of those who don’t have a voice to speak. See why it’s such a radical prayer? It’s the next logical step after praying for humility, praying that we will regard others more than ourselves, the next step is to act out of that humility by acting justly toward those who have not been treated justly.
    Praying for the Lord’s justice to be done, and for us, His church to be a part of enacting His justice is radical. It’s another prayer that has the potential to shake things up in the church, and to make the church what it was meant to be.
    Here’s another radical prayer: to pray for all leaders. Everywhere, from the leader of each household to the principles of the local schools, to the leaders of churches everywhere, to leaders of governments, regardless of what these leaders may believe or how they may act, pray for them.
    Paul urges us in 1 Timothy 2:1-4, “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”
    For all those in authority, all those who lead, pray for them. Pray that they may live peaceful and quiet lives, yes, but that they may live in godliness and holiness, too! Pray for their salvation, those that aren’t saved. Pray that they walk in the Lord’s justice.
    Proverbs 28:2 teaches us this important prayer, “When a country is rebellious, it has many rulers, but a ruler with discernment and knowledge maintains order.” Pray for discernment and knowledge for our leaders, all leaders. This is radical, but there’s more to this radical prayer.
    Both Peter and Paul urged early Christians, who faced persecution and some of the most abominable and corrupt leaders of all time, to be subject to the authority of their leaders. Peter wrote, “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.” (1 Peter 2:13-17).
    Paul’s words are perhaps even more familiar to us, “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” (Romans 13:1-2).
    Radical prayer for our leaders, for them to come to salvation and to do God’s will with discernment and wisdom, to act in godliness and holiness, and for us to pray that we, the Lord’s people, will be subject to those who lead is very, very radical. And like the prayer for humility, and the prayer for the Lord’s justice, it has the potential for great change.
    We can pray the radical prayer to know Jesus’ voice. We forget too easily that the Lord speaks in a voice that is audible to those who are truly listening. Abraham was listening. Joseph was listening. Moses was listening; Joshua and Caleb; Deborah; Ruth and Boaz; David; Elijah; Elisha; Esther; Job; Isaiah and Jeremiah; Ezekiel and Daniel; so many prophets of old; Mary and Joseph; Zechariah and Elizabeth and John; Jesus. All were listening and heard the voice of God speak clearly and plainly, whispering to their spirits. This is what we were meant for. We were meant to hear God’s voice speaking to us at all times, guiding us, directing us, comforting us and encouraging us.
    Jesus stated plainly to His disciples, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27). One of the most radical, life-altering, world-changing prayers that we can prayer as believers is that we will know Jesus’ voice; that we would know what it sounds like when He whispers to us.
    Not only that we would know what His voice sounds like, but that we would listen, follow through with what His voice says. When we read about Jesus’ transfiguration in Mark 9:7, God told those who were gathered there that Jesus is His Son, and He gave them one command: listen to Him.
    Oh that we would pray that we would develop a sensitive ear to Him. That we would not only hear Him, but follow His Word. That we would hear Him, and do as He says. That, is a radical prayer.
    And a fifth radical prayer for us today, a prayer for compassion. Again, there are two parts to this radical prayer. We want to pray for compassion for the lost, compassion like Jesus had. “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Matthew 9:36-38).
    We are the harvesters, but we need compassion for the harvest. We need compassion to look on the lost and see them as God sees them. We need compassion to work to bring in the harvest when there will be many who do not want to be a part of it. Compassion will drive us and keep us from quitting. When Jesus worked miracles and healed those who were in need, it was always because of His great compassion for those who were hurting.
    We need compassion too, for our enemies. That is a radical prayer. No one likes to pray for their enemies. No one really wants to show compassion to those who have hurt them. “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.” (Luke 6:35). Those were Jesus’ words.
    And Peter’s, “Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” (1 Peter 3:8-9).
    Radical prayers, you see, are radical because they have the power to drastically change our world, but they’re also radical because the change that they bring about starts with the heart of the believer.

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