A woman rushed into a supermarket to pick up a few items. She was in a hurry, so she headed for the express line, where the assistant was talking on the phone with his back turned to her. “Excuse me,” she said, “I’m in a hurry. Could you check me out, please?” The clerk turned, stared at her for a second, looked her up and down, smiled and said, “Not bad.”
And I guess the point is that most mothers today are always busy, busy serving their families. Whether that be cooking dinner, taking the kids to school, keeping the house clean, or caring for the kids. Moms are always busy keeping their homes and their families running smoothly.
But what about the mother who’s trying to be a godly mother too? How much more of a challenge is that for you?
Now I know some of you might find this hard to believe but when I was a little younger I used to think I was useless and worthless. And I believed that until I read Genesis 2:18 where God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
And then I rather quickly learned that it was a woman(me) who was God’s gift to man.
We are going to look at a special woman in the Bible today, a woman who was a woman of prayer, courage and faithfulness. We are going to look at a woman from the Old Testament and we are going to discover that she has still got a lot to say to you mothers today. Because she too had her fair share of struggles within herself in her lifetime and she too had her fair share of ups and downs with her family.
We are going to look into the life of Hannah.
“There was a certain man from Ramathaim, a Zuphite from the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. He had two wives; one was called Hannah and the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none.” 1 Samuel 1:1-2
So we find the scene is set, a man named Elkanah who was from Ephraim had two wives one named Peninnah and the other named Hannah. Peninnah had children but Hannah didn’t or as we will see in a minute she couldn’t have children. Now this is not your everyday family in terms of Elkanah having two wives. But it is your everyday family when it comes to jealousy within the home for someone’s attention. And its in 1 Samuel 1:3-5 that we find our 1st point.
1. All women need to be shown, just how much they are loved.
“Year after year this man went up from his town to worship and sacrifice to the Lord Almighty at Shiloh, where Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were priests of the Lord. Whenever the day came for Elkanah to sacrifice, he would give portions of the meat to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters. But to Hannah he gave a double portion because he loved her, and the Lord had closed her womb.” 1 Samuel 1:3-5
Here is a man who was dedicated to God. This was a man who tried to show his whole family just how important God was in their lives.
“Year after year he would take his family to worship and sacrifice to the Lord at Shiloh.” And that included Hannah. Year after year she too would go on this round trip journey of 40 miles to Shiloh with the rest of her family to worship God.
But for Hannah it would be a trip with mixed emotions. A time of love and a time of irritation. You see when the time of sacrifice came, Elkanah would give Peninnah and her children portions of meat which is in accordance with Deuteronomy 12:17-18. But he also gave a double portion of meat to Hannah for 2 reasons. He loved her and she couldn’t have children. But first and foremost Hannah was loved by her husband. All women need to feel loved, whether that loves comes from their children or their husband or their extended families like cousins and uncles.
When was the last time your husbands or children offered you something out of love? Ephesians 5:25-28.
That means letting the women around you know that you love them. That means loving them even when she’s going through some dramatic problems. You see it isn’t just a case of saying the words; it’s a case of love in action. The text says that ‘Elkanah gave portions of the meat to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters and to Hannah.’
You see a mother needs to know just how much she is loved. Sometimes its not enough just to say the words, “I love you.” Hannah was a woman who wanted to give her husband children but couldn’t. Now some of you can understand what it’s like not to be able to have children. And to most people that may not be a big deal but to a woman in Old Testament times, this was a big issue.
You see it was the children who did most of the labour in those days and it was the children who looked after their parents when their parents became old. Even her husband Elkanah had grounds to divorce Hannah because she couldn’t conceive children. A woman who couldn’t have children was considered a social failure in those days. And those were just some of the things that Hannah had to deal with. Because Hannah was also greatly distressed by the insults of Elkanah’s other wife Peninnah.
And although Elkanah showed her love, she was still hurting inside. And this went on for years before Elkanah realized there was something wrong.
“And because the Lord had closed her womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her. This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the Lord, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat. Elkanah her husband would say to her, “Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?” 1 Samuel 1:6-8
2. God knows what you are going through even when your family doesn’t.
How many of you were picked on at school because you were different? Maybe you wore glasses; maybe you had a speech impediment. You see getting ridiculed does hurt and hearing the same words over and over again can bring you down.
And maybe even now you still hear them ridiculing you years later, even though they are long gone. And those memories still hurt and what happens is that your self-esteem goes away from you and you end up feeling worthless. But Hannah shows us how we should deal with people who ridicule us. Matthew 5:44. Hannah took it to the Lord in prayer.
“Once when they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah stood up. Now Eli the priest was sitting on a chair by the doorpost of the Lord’s temple. In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the Lord.” 1 Samuel 1:9-10
You ever had those nights when you have had enough? And you lie there in your bed crying your heart out on the pillow. And you don’t think anybody sees that but God does. Hannah opened her heart up to the Lord and cried whilst she was praying and God listened to her cries. And the reason He listens to your cries is because God doesn’t think you’re worthless. He loves you and cares for you and He thinks that you are of great worth.
Remember in Genesis 16 when Hagar who was Abram’s maidservant had a child for Saria and Abram? She became pregnant and was thrown out of the household and found herself in the desert. An angel appeared to her and told her to go back to them and she said in Genesis 16:13, “She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”
God saw her and she now knew that God knows her. And when you have those times when you are feeling low in self-confidence, your God sees you and knows you.
God heard Hannah’s cries of despair; God knew what she really wanted. You see she didn’t just want a child; she wanted a son whom she could devote to God.
That’s why she said in 1 Samuel 1:11, “O Lord Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.” Year after year she went to Shiloh, probably asking God to bless her with a child, but its only now does she submit to God and say, “Ok God, if I can’t have a child for my own purposes, please grant me a child for your purposes.”
In other words if God would bless her with a son, she would devote him to the Lord all of his life. But notice that her persecution doesn’t stop when she prays. Even when she’s pouring her heart out to God with what she is going through, her praying is misinterpreted.
Remember in Acts 2 when the Spirit of God came upon the apostles and they spoke in tongues? It says in Acts 2:12-15 “Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?” Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.” Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning!”
God’s people being accused of being drunk is nothing new, Hannah was accused of the same thing.
“As she kept on praying to the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk and said to her, “How long will you keep on getting drunk? Get rid of your wine.” 1 Samuel 1:12-14
You ever had times like that in your life? When you are really upset about something that is happening in your life and your praying to God quietly and people wonder what is wrong with you?
Hannah said to Eli in 1 Samuel 1:15-16, “Not so, my lord,” Hannah replied, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the Lord. Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.”
And that brings me to my next point.
3. A problem shared is more than a problem halved.
Hannah made progress in her life. Hannah a woman, who was greatly distressed to the point where she constantly felt physically sick and wouldn’t eat, left after her worship to God feeling stronger. She went to Shiloh to worship her God knowing her God but she left Shiloh knowing that her God knows her too.
“Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.” She said, “May your servant find favour in your eyes.” Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast.” 1 Samuel 1:17-18
Her whole outlook on her life changed because she took the time to earnestly speak to her God. She also received words of encouragement from Eli the high priest but most importantly she left her worries with God. 1 Peter 5:7.
The problem is that we give God all our problems when we talk to Him in prayer but as soon as we’ve finished praying to Him, we take them all back again. Hannah didn’t do that, she was no longer feeling unhappy with life and her problems and she was eating again. She still couldn’t have children; she was probably still being ridiculed by Peninnah.
So what’s changed?
Her God has changed. Not that God changes but her view of God has changed. He’s no longer this person whom she just talks to from time to time. He’s this God who can be approached with an honest heart, He’s the God who sees, the God who cares, the God who understands.
“Early the next morning they arose and worshiped before the Lord and then went back to their home at Ramah.” 1 Samuel 1:19
I guarantee you that the way she worshiped the Lord on that day was different from all the other years of worship for Hannah. Hannah shared her problems with God and Eli but her problems weren’t halved, they were given to God.
Give God all your worries and leave them with Him. Allow God’s people to give you words of encouragement when you are feeling a bit down. Leave here today knowing that your God understands what you have been through, what you’re going through and what you’re going to go through.
4. Let God take care of you today and trust Him for a miracle tomorrow.
You see, if we truly believe that God is going to answer our prayers, we need to continue to walk like He’s going to answer that prayer. It’s no good asking God to send you someone to share the gospel with, if you never go out of your home.
It’s no good asking God to give you confidence to face the day when all you do is stay in bed. You need to do these things so that God can provide the answers to your prayers. And Hannah was no exception.
Because in 1 Samuel 1 and the 2nd part of verse 19 says, “Elkanah lay with Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her.”
She had to make love with Elkanah for her to become pregnant. And maybe this time when she made love with him. And when the Bible says that God remembered her, it’s not a case of God saying, “Oh I totally forgot about Hannah, I better do something.” It’s a case of when the time was right, He would answer her prayer.
“So in the course of time Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, “Because I asked the Lord for him.” 1 Samuel 1:20
She left the problem in God’s hands and went about her daily business and when the time was right God answered her prayer. And because she knew that God hadn’t forgotten her, she didn’t forget her vow to God either. Samuel was born and when he was old enough, 1 Samuel 1:21-27 tells us that she handed him over to the Lord to work for Him.
Can you imagine that for one moment?
Going through all sorts of ridicule all of your life because you couldn’t have kids, then handing him over to someone else? Samuel was probably around 3 years old when Hannah left him at the tabernacle. Imagine, 3 years of bonding with your child and then giving him up! You see Hannah understood that Samuel’s life was a gift from God, so she wasn’t really giving him up; she was simply returning him to God.
Now when we give something up that is precious to us, it’s a struggle sometimes to let it go. All to often, especially moms find it hard when their kids grow up and leave the home. I know of a lot of moms who dreaded that day and who are still dreading that day.
Now we know that children do grow up and leave the home and get married and sometimes that hurts but we also know that we still see them regularly. Especially if they need money or some advice for a problem they are having. But Hannah was no exception, every year she would go back to Shiloh and see her son.
You see for Hannah handing Samuel over to do the lord’s work was a sad time for her but God knew that, so He blessed her with even more children.
“And the Lord was gracious to Hannah; she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord.” 2 Samuel 2:21
But when she handed Samuel over to the Lord, it was also a time of rejoicing.
You’ve got a heavenly father who loves you with the entire universe. He loves us all so much, He was willing to come to earth and die for us all. And if you’re not a Christian today then you can be sure that He died for you too.
And maybe you’ll leave here rejoicing in the Lord as Hannah did when submitted to His will being done, and not hers. Let’s read Hannah’s song of prayer as we finish.
“Then Hannah prayed and said: “My heart rejoices in the Lord; in the Lord my horn is lifted high. My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in your deliverance. “There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God. “Do not keep talking so proudly or let your mouth speak such arrogance, for the Lord is a God who knows, and by him deeds are weighed. “The bows of the warriors are broken, but those who stumbled are armed with strength. Those who were full hire themselves out for food, but those who were hungry hunger no more. She who was barren has borne seven children, but she who has had many sons pines away. “The Lord brings death and makes alive; he brings down to the grave and raises up. The Lord sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts. He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honour. “For the foundations of the earth are the Lord’s; upon them he has set the world. He will guard the feet of his saints, but the wicked will be silenced in darkness. “It is not by strength that one prevails; those who oppose the Lord will be shattered. He will thunder against them from heaven; the Lord will judge the ends of the earth. “He will give strength to his king and exalt the horn of his anointed.” 1 Samuel 2:1-10
At church last night we talked about prayer and I mentioned writing things down. After church I was approached about prayer journaling, so I decided to write this for not only the wonderful church lady but everyone else as well.
A prayer journal can help you track your prayer requests, or let you express personal thoughts between you and God. It is also a great way to be more intentional with your prayers. A prayer journal may be just the thing to help you be more precise with your prayers or more thankful for answered prayers. Like any other type of personal journal, this will be for your eyes only, unless you choose to share it. That means you can be free and open to say whatever you want in it. This is your private time with the Lord. Let’s look at how to keep a prayer journal.
1. Begin with a prayer for guidance – One of the first things you can do when starting your prayer journal is to pray for guidance on how to start.
2. Find a great place to do your journaling – This should be a place that you feel comfortable in, and that will be free of distractions. There are no rules – it can be your yard, your bedroom, or your back porch. The point is just that you carve out a special place just for this, so you will be more dedicated and motivated to stick with your prayer journal.
3. Write down your prayer requests – It’s important that you also be very specific. You can put your personal prayer requests and requests you have for your family, as well as requests that are made at church, that you hear online, or that friends ask of you directly.
4. Write what you’re grateful for – Gratitude is a very important part of the process. Take time to acknowledge all the things God does for you, and what you are grateful for in your life.
5. When a prayer request comes off your list remember to thank God. – This ties in to being grateful. Always go back to your prayer journal and give thanks for how God has worked in your life.
How to Choose a Journal
When choosing your journal, pick something that feels good to you. Pick a book or journal that you will enjoy writing in regularly, that is comfortable for you, and that you like the physical appearance of, so you will be drawn to using it daily.
That’s really the only criteria.
As you can see, keeping a prayer journal doesn’t have to be super difficult. You can be as creative and as flexible as you want. You can purchase a pre-set prayer journal to give you structure and just fill in the blanks, or you can start with a blank journal or a printable journal and do it custom to your needs.
Truthfully, keeping a journal is not something I’ve been consistent at in the past. But it is something I love to do now on a regular basis. I think it is wonderful to be able to look back and see how God has answered my prayers and spoken to me through scripture. I know He does, but to go back pen point when I prayed and when God spoke to me is awesome.
Do you keep a prayer or Bible journal? What does your method look like?
I’ve been comfortable for way too long. Please, forgive me. I know that God wants to use me to show God in this world. We all love to be comfortable and content in our lives, church, and our surroundings. Currently, our local Wal-Mart is renovating and moving everything around the store. This has caused an uproar in the community people are talking about it everywhere and people are really upset. I have to admit the changes did not sit well with me either. But this made me think of our Christian lives. Should we be content to be comfortable?
Every week on Sunday night we go around the room checking for prayer requests. Here’s what I’ve noticed, and this is just based on observation, every week there are many prayer requests, and we love it. We love to pray over your prayer requests, but here’s what I’ve noticed quite honestly, and this is just from observation, that most of the time what people apparently want prayers for are things that directly impact them or those that they love. It’s, Pray for my grandma, Pray that I get into this school. Pray for me find a job. Absolutely and completely we should continue to pray those prayers; but instead of just praying, “God, would you do this for me?” a dangerous way to pray is, “God, what can I do for you?” Not just, “God, hey. Do this, bless me, keep me safe,” but, “God, I am your servant and I want to be available for whatever you might call me to do.” I call it a prayer of availability.
Let me tell you, when you pray this prayer, God could direct you in a lot of different ways. He may lead you to go to a different city. He may reveal a calling in your life that you never ever expected before. He may lead you to stay somewhere when you just knew you were supposed to go somewhere else. He may move you to break up with somebody and he give you an upgrade. He might lead you to a different job. He might call you to serve somewhere. He might move you from being a cat person to a dog person. I don’t know what it would be, but when you make yourself available to God it’s an incredibly dangerous prayer we’re going to learn to pray today.
Now, all throughout scripture if you read from the Old Testament through the New, you’re going to see that God calls people. What does that mean? It doesn’t mean your phone rings, it means He speaks to people, He prompts them, He moves them, He leads them to say something, to do something, to go somewhere, to encourage someone, to speak truth. God will call those who know him to do something that he wants done. There are different responses to God’s call. I want to talk about those three responses that will lead us to our dangerous prayer.
Three responses to God’s call: The first one, if you’re taking notes, is this. It was Jonah. Jonah responded to God’s call this way. He said, “Here I am, I’m not going!” Some of you can relate. “Here I am God. I’m not going.” Jonah chapter 1 verses 1 through 3, “God spoke and said, ‘Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it because its wickedness has come up before me.'” What did Jonah do? Jonah ran away from the Lord. He said, “Here I am God. I’m not going.” I wonder how many of you have had a similar experience. You’ve felt prompted to do something. “Hey, I’m supposed to reach out. I’m supposed to say something. I’m supposed to help this person. Here I am God. Not today. I’m not going.”
In fact, to me, I am still haunted by a time that I felt prompted to do something. It wasn’t a big thing, but it was a significant miss, I believe, on my part. I was simply driving home and I drove … To get to my house you have to go through places where there’s a couple of miles with no houses. There’s just nothing. There was a lady that must have been 75/78 years of age standing on the side of the road, no vehicle, just standing there. I thought, “I’m supposed to stop.” I don’t know if that was God prompting me to stop. I don’t know if it was just human decency or whatever, but I just thought, “I’m supposed to stop. She’s there. Why in the world would a woman be standing on the side of the road?”
I just drove up to her thinking, “I need to stop. I need to stop. I need to stop,” and I’m embarrassed to say I just kept on driving by. I thought I needed to stop and I didn’t even do it. I just drove all the way home and didn’t even stop to say, “Hey, can I help you? What’s going on?” To this day, I feel bad about that. I felt prompted to do something and I didn’t do it. I can guarantee you that all of you who are followers of Jesus, there are those times that God prompts you to do something and you think, “I need to. I’m going to. I should. Here I am though, not today. I’m not going to do this.” Jonah, “Here I am,” say it with me, “I’m not going.”
The second one is Moses, and this is what Moses said. He said, “Here I am. Send someone else. Here I am. Send my brother. This isn’t my perfect calling.” Verse 10 of Exodus chapter 3, “God spoke and said, ‘Now go. I’m sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.'” This is something Moses would have agreed needed to happen, but instead of saying, “Sure God, I’ll go,” Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt? Who am I? I’m not good enough. I’m not talented enough. Someone else would be better at this than I am. Here I am, God. Send someone else. I’m not the right person.”
It’s so easy for us to do this. “I’m not going to give. They should give. They’ve got more money to give. I’m not going to go. I don’t have as much time. She’s a stay at home mom. She’s got more time than I do.” All the stay at home moms came out with a knife with no makeup on and their hair messed up saying, “You have no idea.” Girl I am with you I’m a stay at home mom and my son went to school at home from 6th grade to 10th grade I feel your pain. That’s what we all think. “She can do it. He can do it. They’re better equipped. I don’t have time for this. Here I am God. Send someone else.”
Jonah says, “Here I am. I’m not going.” Moses says, “Here I am. Send somebody else.” Isaiah though prays a very dangerous prayer. This is the prayer that I want us to pray today. Isaiah chapter 6 verse 8 says this: Isaiah says, “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?'” Notice what Isaiah said in a prayer response back to God. Before you read it I want you to notice what he did not say. Notice he didn’t say, “Where are you sending me? Is the climate nice? What’s the cost of living there? What is the pay range? Are there benefits? How much vacation do I get?” Right? He didn’t ask for any of that. What he simply did, essentially, is signed a contract that was blank and said to God, “Here I am,” somebody say it aloud, “send me. Here I am God. Send me.” This is, I don’t need to tell you, a really dangerous prayer.
I want to encourage you when you wake up, pray our own version of this prayer every day, “God, I give you my mind. I give you my eyes. I give you my mouth. May I speak what you want me to say. May I hear only your truth today and have the wisdom to reject that which is not true. Here are my hands. May they used to be to build your kingdom. Here are my feet God. Lead me to where you want me to go. Help me to do what you want me to do. Essentially God, here I am. Send me.”
I want to challenge you, dare you, motivate you to pray a similar prayer. “Here I am God. I’m available. Here I am God. You have permission to interrupt me. God, if you want me to go somewhere, I’ll go. If you want me to stay, I’ll stay. If you want me to say something to somebody, I’ll speak. If you want me simply to be quiet and pray, I will pray. If you want me to give something away, if you want me to use my time, whatever you need me to do, wherever it is God, here I am. I am completely available to you God. I am your servant. Here I am God. Send me.” An incredibly dangerous prayer, because when you start praying that I guarantee you God’s going to interrupt you, God will prompt you, God will move upon you, and suddenly you’ll recognize God has a lot for you to do when you pray, “Here I am. Send me.”
How do we get there? How do we get to that kind of attitude before God? How do we fully surrender our lives to God? I want to try to answer that. We looked at Isaiah 6:8. I want to look at the verses that lead up to that surrendered prayer from the prophet Isaiah. What do you need to fully surrender to God? Three things, if you’re taking notes I hope you’ll write these things down.
Number one, you need a genuine experience with the presence of God. Verse 1 says this: “In the year the King Uzziah died, he said, ‘I,'” what?. He said, “I saw the Lord high an exalted seated on a throne, and the train of his robe filled the temple.”
What happened? Isaiah saw the presence of God. He saw him in all of his majesty and all of his glory. The text goes on to talk about these angelic beings named seraphim, and all of these angelic beings were worshiping and praising the living God crying out, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty. Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty.” When Isaiah saw the presence of God, when he experienced the glory of God, it completely transformed who he was. Why is it that you might not be very available to God? Perhaps it’s because you have not recently experienced the presence of God. Let me say that again. Why is it that you may not find yourself being available? “God here I am. Use me.” Perhaps it’s because you have not recently experienced the presence of God.
Why is it that maybe you’re not as available to God as you should be? Maybe it’s because you haven’t sought after him in awhile, because when you experience his presence you will be transformed. “In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord high and lifted up. His glory was everywhere.” What do you need to fully surrender to God? You need a genuine experience with the presence of God.
The second thing you need is a genuine awareness of your sinfulness, a genuine awareness of your sinfulness.
In fact, I’m going to argue that one of the biggest cultural lies that people believe today is this: “I’m a good person. You’re a good person. She’s a good person. We’re good people. I’m a good person.” Let me tell you this, without Christ you are not a good person. You are a horrible, pathetic, evil sinner in the eyes of God. I’m not here to make you feel better about yourself. You’re wicked. I’m wicked. We’re evil. We’re sinners. We’re despicable in the eyes of God. It was when Isaiah saw the goodness of God he realized the badness of him. I recognize that’s not the right way to say it, but that’s the way I wanted to say it because it felt right when it was coming out. He saw how holy God was, and in that moment he recognized his own unrighteousness. It was a genuine awareness of his sinfulness.
In verse 5 he cries out, “Woe to me!” He cried, “I’m ruined.” Another verse says, “I’m done. I’m nothing. I’m pathetic. I’m a sinner. I have nothing to offer. He’s holy. I’m not. He’s righteous. I’m unrighteous. He’s full of glory. I’m full of sin. Woe to me. I’m ruined, for I’m a man of unclean lips and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” What does it take to get to a place where you’re fully surrendered? “Here I am God. I’m yours. Send me.” It takes a genuine experience with the presence of God. It takes a genuine awareness of your sinfulness.
Number three, it takes a genuine understanding of God’s grace.
When you understand just how amazing his grace is, it brings you to a point of full surrender. Verse 6 says this: “Isaiah said, ‘Then one of the Seraphim,'” that’s one of those angelic beings, “‘flew to me with a live coal in his hand which he had taken from the tongs from the alter. When he touched it to my mouth and said, ‘See, this has touched your lips,'” then read aloud what he said, he said, this is amazing news and this is the grace, “he said, ‘Your guilt is taken away and your sins atoned for.'” What happened? He saw the presence of God. He recognized, “I am ruined. I am a man of unclean lips.”
With one touch from the goodness of God, his sins were forgiven and completely atoned for. You can only imagine this. Your lying lips, forgiven. Your lustful attitudes, forgiven. Your self-centered thoughts, forgiven. Your anger outbursts, forgiven. Every secret sin you’ve never told anybody before, but God knows them all, forgiven as if they never ever happened. God separates your sins as far as the east is from the west. He does not remember your sins anymore. When you confess your sins to God, he is faithful and just to forgive your sins and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness.
When you understand the grace of God, it transforms everything. The same way that coal that touched his lips removed his guilt, the blood of Jesus covers our sins. When we recognize that we don’t bring anything, but Jesus brings everything … Let me say it again. We don’t bring anything and Jesus brings everything. When we sense God’s presence, when we’re aware of our own sinfulness, and then we experience the unmatched, undeserved grace of God through Jesus Christ, our only reasonable response, everything, “Here I am God. Send me. It’s not my life. It’s not my desires.” One of the most dangerous prayers you can pray, “God I’m all yours anywhere, anytime, anything.”
This isn’t some kind of, “Gosh, I’ve got to pray this prayer because the Jesus died for my sins thing. Shoot.” This is, “I get to do this!” This is, “I get to serve him!” This is, “I get to wake up. I have a day that God has made. He has given me gifts. He put me at this moment in history because at this time I can best bring glory to him. He’s going to bring people across my path today that need encouragement, and I have encouragement from the Lord inside of me. He’s going to have people that have needs, and he’s given me exactly what they need. If I just have the courage to release it and trust God to use it, he can use me to meet some needs.” This isn’t a, “Oh I’ve got to serve God.” This is a, “I get to serve God because he served and loved me through Jesus! I get to give everything that I have to him.”
Here’s the cool thing: This isn’t a one time decision. This isn’t like, “In 2002 I prayed that prayer and I surrendered it all to him on that day, and ever since then …” No, it’s not a one time decision. It’s a daily decision. It’s a daily decision. The reasons it’s daily is because if you have been born into God’s family, in other words if you have called on Jesus and been transformed, here’s what happened, your spirit came to life. From that moment on, there is a war going on inside of you. There is a war because there is a flesh side of you, is what the Bible calls, it’s not your skin, it means your own selfish desires, and there is a spirit side of you. Your flesh is at war with your spirit. Your flesh wants to do what you want to do. “Here I am. I’m not going! Here I am. Send somebody else.” Your spirit wants to do what God wants you to do. “Here I am God. Send me.”
How do we learn to daily choose to die to our flesh so our spirit would live? It’s simple. What we feed grows and what we starve dies. It’s that simple. If we feed our flesh, “Give me, give me, give me, give me, give me. It’s all about me, me, me, me, me. I’m not going to do that. My life is too important. I’m too valuable. I don’t have time to make a difference. Somebody else can do that. I love Jesus and everything, and I’m going to heaven, but I’m not going to do anything about it.” That’s feeding the flesh.
Instead, if you deny your flesh and feed your spirit, “I’m in the presence of God. I’m seeking God. I’m in his word. I’m growing spiritually. I’m in a Life Group where I’m connecting with others in Biblical community. We’re sharpening one another. I’m using my spiritual gifts. I’m in the church. I am the church. I am the church in the world. I’m showing love,” then your spirit is growing, and your flesh is dying, and you’re closer to God, and you recognize him. “I’m available, and because I’m available, God’s asked me to do more. Whoever is faithful with little God will trust with much.” Why is he trusting some people with much? They were faithful with a little and he gave them more.
That’s why the apostle Paul said this: He said, “I die daily.” What does that mean? Like, “Pow! I die daily.” No, it doesn’t mean that. It means that I am dying to myself every single day so that Christ will live through me. He said, “I am crucified with Christ, but nevertheless I live.” He said, “It’s no longer I who lives now. It’s Christ who lives in me.” That’s the point to which we grow whenever we experience the presence of God, when we’re aware of our own sinfulness and when we experience the glory of a God who forgives us and we didn’t deserve it. Then our response is, “Yes, I’m in! Please use me! I want to be your hands and I want to be your feet. I want to show the same love that you’ve shown to me all over the world. Here I am God. Send me.”
Why is it that more Jesus followers don’t pray this prayer? It could be because they haven’t thought of it maybe. I’m thinking it’s probably because they’re afraid because it really is a dangerous prayer. “Revive me,” dangerous. “Search me,” dangerous. “Send me,” dangerous. My theory is, I can’t prove this, but just from talking to people, I think many people are afraid that God is going to make you sell everything and go be a missionary in Africa, and never use a real toilet again as long as you live. What you need to know is that may happen. He may call you to be a missionary in Africa.
It’s more likely though he’s going to call you to be a missionary where you work because that’s holy too. It’s more likely that he’s going to call you to serve the people that are in front of you, to be faithful with what he’s already given you. A lot of times people go, “God’s going to call on me to la, la, big, big, big, big, big, big, big.!” A lot of times God calls you to stop and listen to someone who’s hurting. God, a lot of times, will call you to just reach out and give something to someone who’s in need. God may call you to buy lunch for $8 for a single mom with four kids, and you may say, “That wasn’t a really big thing,” and she would say, “No, that really was a big thing,” and God would say, “That was a big thing because you were faithful and obedient to me.”
When you do enough little things and are faithful to God, you may wake up one day and realize that the little things were actually the big things because you’ve been faithful to God day after day, day after day, day after day; and when you’ve been faithful in the small things, he trusts you with even more big things. One day you’re excited. “God, I will go wherever you want me to go.” He may prompt you to serve somewhere in the church. He may prompt you to serve in the nursery, which is like going to Africa because they don’t go in toilets either. He may call you to lead a Sunday school class. He may prompt you to foster. He may prompt you to give above your tithe. I don’t know what he’s going to prompt you to do, but when you truly start saying yes to Jesus, you’re going to recognize he’s calling you to do more, and more, and more because you are his hands and you are his feet in the world. “Here I am. Send me. Here I am. Send me. Here I am God. I’m yours anywhere, anytime.”
In part one, we started with a prayer to get a Christian in the right place to follow God’s will and deal with their own selves. We continue this work in ourselves with a new type of prayer, this time it is Habakkuk that has prayed a life changing prayer.
3 A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet upon Shigionoth.
2 O Lord, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.
3 God came from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise.
4 And his brightness was as the light; he had horns coming out of his hand: and there was the hiding of his power.
5 Before him went the pestilence, and burning coals went forth at his feet.
6 He stood, and measured the earth: he beheld, and drove asunder the nations; and the everlasting mountains were scattered, the perpetual hills did bow: his ways are everlasting.
7 I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction: and the curtains of the land of Midian did tremble.
8 Was the Lord displeased against the rivers? was thine anger against the rivers? was thy wrath against the sea, that thou didst ride upon thine horses and thy chariots of salvation?
9 Thy bow was made quite naked, according to the oaths of the tribes, even thy word. Selah. Thou didst cleave the earth with rivers.
10 The mountains saw thee, and they trembled: the overflowing of the water passed by: the deep uttered his voice, and lifted up his hands on high.
11 The sun and moon stood still in their habitation: at the light of thine arrows they went, and at the shining of thy glittering spear.
12 Thou didst march through the land in indignation, thou didst thresh the heathen in anger.
13 Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people, even for salvation with thine anointed; thou woundedst the head out of the house of the wicked, by discovering the foundation unto the neck. Selah.
14 Thou didst strike through with his staves the head of his villages: they came out as a whirlwind to scatter me: their rejoicing was as to devour the poor secretly.
15 Thou didst walk through the sea with thine horses, through the heap of great waters.
16 When I heard, my belly trembled; my lips quivered at the voice: rottenness entered into my bones, and I trembled in myself, that I might rest in the day of trouble: when he cometh up unto the people, he will invade them with his troops.
17 Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls:
18 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.
19 The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.
The first two chapters of Habakkuk give us the prophet’s “question and answer” time with God. Now that God has answered Habakkuk, the prophet brings a prayer to close the book.
“O LORD, revive Your work in the midst of the years” Habakkuk simply prays for revival. He knows how God once worked and how His people once responded, and Habakkuk wants to see that again. The prayer of Habakkuk shows us that revival is a work of God, not the achievement of man. There is something man can and must do for revival – simply cry out to God and plead for His reviving work.
Notice the words “Revive Your work.” Often, my prayer is really “revive my work,” but I must have a heart and mind for God’s work, far bigger than my portion of it. I have been saying for a while now, “It’s not about you. It’s about God.” We get so wrapped up in our lives, that we can’t see God’s will. Even getting wrapped up in what we do for the Church or as a community. We can’t do anything without out God. It is God’s work not our own.
At the same time, this must be a personal prayer: “LORD, revive me.” We too often blame the church for sin, corruption, laziness, prayerlessness, lack of spiritual power, or whatever and we forget that we are the church. Pray for personal revival and diligently search yourself:
Check your conduct – does your walk glorify the LORD as it should? How about your private conduct, which only the LORD sees?
Check your conversation – is your speech profane or impure? Do you talk about Jesus with others?
Check your communion – are you living a growing, abiding life with Jesus?
“In the midst of the years make it known.” Habakkuk longs for God to do a work that is evident to everyone as a work of God. He prays that revival would be known at a definite time and place (in the midst of the years), not just as an idea in someone’s head.
In wrath remember mercy: Habakkuk prays knowing well that they don’t deserve revival, so he prays for mercy. The idea is, “LORD, I know that we deserve your wrath, but in the midst of your wrath remember mercy and send revival among us.”
“O God, have mercy upon thy poor church, and visit her, and revive her. She has but a little strength; she has desired to keep thy word; oh, refresh her; restore to her thy power, and give her yet to be great in this land.” (Spurgeon)
The power of God on behalf of His people.
His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of His praise: As Habakkuk prays for revival he begins to praise the God who brings revival. In this song of praise (punctuated by several expressions of Selah, as in the Psalms) Habakkuk glorifies the power and majesty of God.
It is good to praise God like this, and God’s people need to do more of it. It is good to praise God because …
– Because it gives appropriate honor and glory to God
– Because declares God’s specific works
– Because it teaches and reminds us of who God is and what He has done
– Because it places man in proper perspective under God
– Because it builds confidence in the power and works of God
Knowing God’s strength, Habakkuk can trust the LORD even in a crisis.
When I heard, my body trembled: Habakkuk shows the proper response of man under the sovereign power of God. He recognizes his own weakness and low standing before this God of all majesty and power.
Though the fig tree may not blossom, not fruit be on the vines … yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation: In almost a vision, Habakkuk sees the Judean countryside desolate, perhaps from the invading Babylonian army or perhaps from natural calamity. In the midst of this almost complete loss, Habakkuk can still rejoice in the LORD.
He knows that this God of majesty and power is not broken down because man faces difficult trials. Sometimes we think, “If God is so great and powerful, why I am going through a hard time?” Habakkuk knew this was the wrong question and the wrong attitude. Instead, he says: “I know you are strong and mighty, and if we are in desolate circumstances it is because we deserve it. I will praise You still, and even rejoice in You.”
Rejoice in the LORD … joy in the God of my salvation: With desolate circumstances like he just described, Habakkuk can find no joy in the fig tree or in the vines or in the fields or flock; yet God is unchanged. He can still rejoice in the LORD, because He is unchanging.
Habakkuk didn’t just practice positive thinking and shut out the idea of the barren fig tree and the empty cattle stalls. Instead, he saw those problems for what they were and remembered that God was greater than them all.
3:19 Knowing God’s strength, Habakkuk can trust God for strength.
The LORD God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, and He will make me walk on my high hills. To the Chief Musician. With my stringed instruments.
The LORD God is my strength: Habakkuk can only properly pray this after he prayed the prayer of faith in the previous verses. He rightly declared that his strength was not in fig trees or vines or fields or flocks, but only in the LORD God.
We might even say that what we praise is our strength. If by his words, life, or heart a man lives to praise his own achievements and resources, that those are his strength. If by words, life, or heart one praises a person or an idea, then those are his strength. We demonstrate that the LORD God is our strength when we praise Him.
He will make my feet like deer’s feet: Habakkuk thought of the deer running about on the high hills, never losing a step and never falling. More than that, the deer positively dance and leap on the hills – they are full of life and joy. So the prophet declares, “God will set my steps that firmly and lively also. As I trust in Him, He will not allow me to slip or fall, and I will do more than merely plod along – I will skip about with life and joy.”
As you pray this type of prayer pray for revival of His work, be humbled by how much you deserve wrath, but receive mercy, take time to praise God, trust God through crisis and pray to thank God for your salvation and take Joy in that.
I am super excited to start this series of studies. What we’re going to do is we’re really going to start praying three new types prayers, and I want to warn you, these are not easy prayers. These are not safe prayers. These are not benign prayers. I’m calling them dangerous prayers, but they’re dangerous in a good way. In fact, if you ask my opinion, most people I know in this part of the world, most people’s prayers are way too safe. What do we often pray for? God bless us. Safe? God help us. Good, but safe?
What I want to do is I want to arm you with some prayers that are not safe to pray. In fact, just know going into them, when you pray these prayers, you’re really asking God to do something that will often take you out of your comfort zone.
Today, we’re going to start with dangerous prayer, and we’re going to look at a prayer that David prayed in Psalm 139. David prayed this after his enemies and God’s enemies were on the attack, and accusing David of having wrong motives. Instead of defending himself, he actually prayed a very dangerous prayer before God, when he asked God to search his heart. Psalm 139 will introduce our dangerous prayer for the day.
For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.
1 You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.
19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
20 They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord,
and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
This is what David prayed, a very dangerous prayer. He prayed, “Search me, God, and know my heart. Test me, and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” A very dangerous prayer.
Think about how many times you have prayed this type of prayer. What I want to do is break the last part of this prayer down into four parts
“Search my heart.”
He says it very directly in verse twenty-three, “Search me, God, and know my heart.” For some of you, you may look at that and think, “Now, why would we ask God to search our heart. He knows it, we have a good heart, right?
Actually, we need to understand that without Christ, we do not have a good heart. It’s a very common saying. “Well, she’s got a good heart.” Actually, she’s got a wicked heart, if you want to be completely accurate. Jeremiah 17:9 says this: “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and it is desperately wicked.” Who really knows how bad it is?
We need to understand that without Christ, our heart is not a good heart, that we deceive others, we deceive ourselves. We lie to ourselves. The most common lie that most of us tell is to ourselves. The heart is deceitful. We deceive ourselves. We don’t even know how bad we are.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and we need a really dangerous prayer when we go before God and say, “Search my heart, God. Show me what is in there. Search my heart, oh God.”
When you pray, “Search my heart,” it’s a dangerous prayer, because God is going to show you things in your heart that are not pure. Not to be cruel, but to bring you into deeper intimacy with Him as his Holy Spirit transforms you to be conformed to the image of Christ. It’s a dangerous prayer, you need to understand, but it’s one that can make you so much closer to God.
“Know my anxious thoughts”
Show me my fears. He says this in verse twenty-three, “Search me, God, and know my heart. Test me,” and then know what? “And know my anxious thoughts.” What is it that makes you anxious? A lot of times, we don’t even acknowledge them. We just think, “Well, everybody has to worry about this.” What is it that makes you afraid? I’m not talking about snakes and spiders, and the man behind the shower curtain who is there in the dark waiting for you when you when you come into the bathroom. I’m not talking about that guy. He might be there. He’s never been there, but I check for him every time. If you ever think you’re going to be him, just understand, I’m cocked and ready every single time, every single time, every single time.
What is it that internally makes you afraid? What is that makes you anxious? Afraid of losing your job? Afraid of not getting married by such and such age? Afraid of being stuck in the marriage that you’re in and it not getting any better? Afraid of the future, the unknown? Afraid of failing? Some people are afraid of succeeding. Afraid of loss? What if I lose somebody? What if I lose something that I value so dearly?
Why does this matter? Why would we say, “God, show me my anxious thoughts?” I would argue because of this … If you’re taking notes, you can jot this down. Because what we fear the most reveals where we trust God the least. Think about that. What we fear the most reveals where we trust God the least. If I’m scared to death that my marriage isn’t going to work, well, I’m not trusting God with my marriage. If I’m afraid that I’m not going to be able to pay the bills, I’m not trusting God to be my provider. If I’m afraid that … I got to keep my children safe. I’m not trusting my children to God. What you fear the most reveals where you trust God the least.
“God, reveal my fears. Test me, God, and show me where my anxious thoughts fall.” I prayed this prayer this week. Every day I started the day praying this prayer, dangerous prayer, “Search me, God. Know my heart. Reveal my anxious thoughts,” and what God showed me about what I fear the most is not something I’m really proud of, but I am scared to death of failing. If I succeed, it’s often because I’m so driven by fear of failing, and I prayed through more of that, and I recognized actually what I fear is not just failing, but it’s letting people down, and then I got to the deeper level as I was praying through it, and I realize I just have a massive fear of being inadequate, of not being enough, not being good enough, not being righteous enough, not being wise enough, not being whatever enough. This is my fear.
This is a real issue, because in the church and in my role, I cannot be driven by fear. I have to be lead by faith. Without faith, it’s impossible to please God, and there are some things that I really believe God wants our church to do, but there’s no guarantees it’s always going to work. Often my fear will keep from being obedient. I’m just telling you maybe more than you want to know, but it’s really meaningful to me. As I was praying through it this week, what I really believe God showed me is that I have to love pleasing Him more than I fear failing, and that was really powerful to me. I have to love pleasing Him and being obedient to Him, more than I am afraid of failing.
In my own time of praying this, “God, test me. Know my anxious thoughts,” this comes to mind, and so what am I doing? I’m quoting scripture to renew my mind. “Perfect love, cast out all fear.” God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
I just dare you, double dog dare you, pray this prayer, “Search my heart, oh God. Test me, and know my anxious thoughts.” Why does what you fear matter? What you fear the most reveals where you trust God the least, and suddenly, you recognize in this one area, I’m really not trusting God, and, suddenly, as you start to do what I did, you get down to the root of it, and then God’s word can speak to the root of the problem, and that can become an anchor moment, when, suddenly, you say, “No, I will take that step of faith,” or, “I will do what God is calling me to do.” It’s a dangerous prayer.
When you pray this, God will reveal things to you about yourself that you may not have been willing to acknowledge for years and years and years, because the most common lie we tell is often to ourselves. That’s an issue for me. I’ve got this. I’m fine. Oh, yeah, I’m whatever. “Search my heart, God. Reveal my fears.”
See if there is any offensive way in me
Then number three, this is where it gets even a little more difficult, uncover my sins. Uncover my sins, God. This is what David prays. I love the courage it takes to pray this dangerous prayer. He prays, “God, see if there is any offensive way in me. Show me, God, anything about my life that is inconsistent with your truth. God, show me anything that I’m doing that’s displeasing to you. See if there is any offensive way in me,” because have you noticed, it’s really difficult to see our sins in the mirror? Oh, it’s so easy to find everybody else’s. Can you believe the way she walks, like she’s all hot stuff.
Have you noticed that? We tend to accuse others, and what do we do with ourselves? Excuse ourselves. “I just have to do it. This is how I get through. It’s not that big a deal. It’s none of your business. Judge not least you be judged.”
The heart is deceitful above all things. The most common lies are the ones that we tell ourselves. That’s why it takes tremendous courage to say, “Search my heart, God. Test me. Know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me,” and this can be one of the most game changing prayers you ever pray, when you give God permission to point out any sin that’s dwelling within your heart.
I want to give you three questions that are really helpful to ask yourself as you’re praying, “Uncover my sins.” Three questions that really help you with self-awareness.
What are others trying to tell me?
In other words, if you’ve had three or four people tell you they love you, “I think you might have a problem with this. This is an issue. I’m a little bit concerned about you here.” If you’ve got consistently people that love you tell you that, that might be something you want to pay a little close attention to. There is a common denominator here, and it is you. Pay attention to that.
What have I rationalized for some time?
In other words, “Yeah, this may not be right, but it’s not that big of a deal, and this is just how I deal with things. This is how I cope. It’s nobody else’s business anyway. This isn’t really hurting anybody. This is my one thing,” or whatever. What do you rationalize? “I’m going to quit. It’s not that big of a deal.”
Where am I most defensive?
“No, we’re not going there. No, we’re not talking about that. No, don’t you judge me. No, no. I don’t have a problem with that. No, back off. I told you we’re not talking about that.” Where are you most defensive?
You see, when I see those three questions, it takes my mind right back to a significant issue that I had, and denied for quite some time, until I gave God permission to reveal my sinfulness.
When you have the courage to pray this prayer, “See if there is any offensive way in me,” let me make you a promise. God will point some things out. God will point some things out that you’ve been trying to explain away for a long time. God will point some things out that you’re trying to deny. Do not deny the truth. Denying the truth does not make truth false. Submit yourself to what God is trying to show you, and then what do we do, is we have the courage when God shows us something, to bring it to light.
This is a dangerous prayer. It takes courage to pray it, because when you pray it, He’ll show you some things about yourself that you’re not real proud of, but there’s always grace. There’s always grace.
Lead me.” When you show me what I don’t like about myself, and show me what needs to be changed, now you lead me in the way of everlasting. Verse twenty-four, he says this, “See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way of everlasting. Lead me in the way of everlasting.”
When you have the courage to pray a very dangerous prayer, “Search me, God. You have permission to look deep into the depths of my deceitful heart, and show me, God, test me. Reveal to me my anxious thoughts. Show me the very places that I fear the most, because that shows me where I trust you the least. See if there’s any offensive way in me. No, I’m not pointing a finger at anybody, God. I’m letting you reveal to me what I need to hear.”
When you pray this prayer, it will show you your need, and you take that need directly to Christ, and you let Christ meet that need and conform you to his image. It’s a dangerous prayer, but it’s a prayer that can transform your life.