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Dare to ask...


How to pray to God boldly and specifically.

It seems that recently I have been receiving lesson upon lesson about praying boldly - whether through a sermon at church,  a devotional,  a Scripture verse or a blog post - all prompting me to dare to ask...


Dare to Ask - Left Handed Answers


Our Pastor is preaching through the book of Judges, and we are doing a concurrent small group Bible study on a book by Timothy Keller called Judges for You.  Last week Pastor John preached on the subject of Ehud, the left-handed Benjamite, whom God raised up to be a deliverer for Israel.

Then the people of Israel cried out to the Lord, and the Lord raised up for them a deliverer, Ehud, the son of Gera, the Benjaminite, a left-handed man. 
Judges 3:15

 Pastor John focused on the fact that Ehud was a very unlikely deliverer because he was left-handed.  {In those times, left-handedness would be considered a sign of weakness.}

But at least the Israelites dared to ask...

Excerpts from Judges 3

And Ehud made for himself a sword with two edges, a cubit in length, and he bound it on his right thigh under his clothes.   And he presented the tribute to Eglon king of Moab. Now Eglon was a very fat man...

And Ehud came to him {Eglon} as he was sitting alone in his cool roof chamber. And Ehud said, “I have a message from God for you.” And he arose from his seat.  And Ehud reached with his left hand, took the sword from his right thigh, and thrust it into his belly...

 Ehud escaped while they delayed, and he passed beyond the idols and escaped to Seirah.  When he arrived, he sounded the trumpet in the hill country of Ephraim. Then the people of Israel went down with him from the hill country, and he was their leader. And he said to them, “Follow after me, for the Lord has given your enemies the Moabites into your hand.”...

In the above passage, Timothy Keller stated that "God does not always work by "normal" or "obvious" methods.  In the case of Ehud, "He freed His people, giving them triumph over their enemies and peace for eighty years through an unexpected leader and an unpredicted means."  

God used Ehud's left-handedness for ultimate victory over Eglon...

God heard the Israelites cries for a deliverer and raised up Ehud to save them.   You might wonder what the Israelites thought when they saw Ehud, the left-handed man, and whether they had any faith that he could truly rescue them.

Dare to Ask - Missing the Answer


Sounds familiar doesn't it?  Many did not believe that Jesus was the ultimate Rescuer... 

How could the son of a carpenter, who had  no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.  He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him, be the long-awaited Savior??

I wonder, how often do we dare to ask God in bold prayer yet miss the answer!

Dare to Ask - Misplaced Expectations


I remember seeing the following years ago...

The Parable of the Flood

A man was trapped in his house during a flood. He began praying to God to rescue him. He had a vision in his head of God’s hand reaching down from heaven and lifting him to safety. The water started to rise in his house. His neighbor urged him to leave and offered him a ride to safety. The man yelled back, “I am waiting for God to save me.” The neighbor drove off in his pick-up truck.

The man continued to pray and hold on to his vision. As the water began rising in his house, he had to climb up to the roof. A boat came by with some people heading for safe ground. They yelled at the man to grab a rope they were ready to throw and take him to safety. He told them that he was waiting for God to save him. They shook their heads and moved on.

The man continued to pray, believing with all his heart that he would be saved by God. The flood waters continued to rise. A helicopter flew by and a voice came over a loudspeaker offering to lower a ladder and take him off the roof. The man waved the helicopter away, shouting back that he was waiting for God to save him. The helicopter left. The flooding water came over the roof and caught him up and swept him away. He drowned.

When he reached heaven and asked, “God, why did you not save me? I believed in you with all my heart. Why did you let me drown?” God replied, “I sent you a pick-up truck, a boat and a helicopter and you refused all of them. What else could I possibly do for you?”

Author Richard of  Eternal Vigilance Blog

This is such a good example of how our expectations can cause us to miss the blessing or even the rescue, even though we dared to ask.

My husband has recently applied for a Senior Pastor position.  The church is currently in the application review process.  

I will be totally transparent here, I am apprehensive about the possibility of moving into full time ministry.  

Prior to this opportunity arising for my husband, the prayer of my own heart has been for an opportunity to do more ministry work, especially with women.  I have been in a drier season of in-person fellowship with sisters in Christ.   

Yet when I heard of this opportunity for my husband, all my fears and "what ifs" came flooding into my thoughts - all the reasons why this would be too much of a risk at this stage of our lives...  

It wasn't until I was writing this blog post that I realized I am the man in the house with the flood waters rising expecting my own vision of how the Lord will answer the prayer of my heart and not seeing that if it were to be God's will for my husband to Pastor this church, indeed that WOULD BE the answer to my heart's prayer for women's ministry work...

Even if the Lord were to close the door on this full-time ministry opportunity for my husband, I am now cognizant of the fact that I must be more mindful of not holding onto an "idea" of how God will answer the prayer of my heart, but rather be ready with eyes wide open for that answer in whatever form it comes in.

*Note*  The Lord did close that door, But God...  He had a better plan, the perfect plan.   I dared to ask and that prayer is being answered four years later in a manner above and beyond what I could have hoped for or expected.  

Dare to Ask - Santa's List


I know we have all heard that our prayers should not be presented to God as if he is a "Cosmic Genie" or "Santa Claus", listing our wants or presenting a God to-do list as if we know better than God how the prayer should be answered...

Yet when I read the following Scripture passages from Genesis 24, it caused me to pause and reflect...

And Abraham said to his servant, the oldest of his household, who had charge of all that he had, “Put your hand under my thigh, that I may make you swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and God of the earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell, but will go to my country and to my kindred, and take a wife for my son Isaac...

And he said, O Lord, God of my master Abraham, please grant me success today and show steadfast love to my master Abraham.  Behold, I am standing by the spring of water, and the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water.  Let the young woman to whom I shall say, ‘Please let down your jar that I may drink,’ and who shall say, ‘Drink, and I will water your camels’—let her be the one whom you have appointed for your servant Isaac. By this I shall know that you have shown steadfast love to my master.”

Before he had finished speaking, behold, Rebekah, who was born to Bethuel the son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham's brother, came out with her water jar on her shoulder. The young woman was very attractive in appearance, a maiden whom no man had known. She went down to the spring and filled her jar and came up. Then the servant ran to meet her and said, “Please give me a little water to drink from your jar.” She said, “Drink, my lord.” And she quickly let down her jar upon her hand and gave him a drink.  When she had finished giving him a drink, she said, “I will draw water for your camels also, until they have finished drinking.”  So she quickly emptied her jar into the trough and ran again to the well to draw water, and she drew for all his camels. 

I was so struck by how very specific Abraham's servant's prayer was.  I mean you can't get more specific than that!  And His prayer was answered while He was still speaking it!

I began to ask myself, is it okay to be this specific when praying for how the answer should play out as this verse would indicate...  To dare to ask...

In the last few years, my mode of prayer has been to cast my cares upon the Lord and claim Psalm 138:8 in the process - The Lord will accomplish what concerns me.  That's not to say that I don't, at times, pray specifically, but I have indeed found freedom in praying Psalm 138:8.

However, in pondering Abraham's servant's specific prayer coupled with the recent lessons I have been receiving on praying boldly, it seems the Lord is speaking to my heart, reminding me - Karen, you can pray bold, specific prayers to Me...

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.
Hebrews 4:16

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything 
according to His will, he hears us. And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—
we know that we have what we asked of Him” 
1 John 5:14-15

And there it is, the reason why every last detail of Abraham's servant's prayer was answered to a tee - because it was in line with God's will.

The Lord, the God of heaven, who took me {Abraham} from my father's house and from the land of my kindred, and who spoke to me and swore to me, ‘To your offspring I will give this land,’ he will send his angel before you, and you shall take a wife for my son {Isaac} from there.
Genesis 24:7

Dare to Ask - A Challenge

Believe me, there are definitely situations in my life right now that call for bold, specific prayer.

Our Pastor challenged us for 21 days to claim and pray boldly Isaiah 59:1 {Behold, the LORD'S hand is not so short that it cannot save; Nor is His ear so dull That it cannot hear} over a person who needs rescuing.  To pray boldly and specifically, daring to ask, believing that the Lord will answer.  And to remember that the answer to our bold, specific prayers could be through a "left-handed person" or by unexpected means.

When we allow ourselves to hear the still small voice of the Holy Spirit, He will show us how to pray for each circumstance...  whether generally, boldly and specifically or by casting our cares upon Him knowing He will accomplish what concerns us...

...for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
Romans 8:26

I personally have seen prayers answered EXACTLY how I had dared to ask, but I have also had prayers answered in a way that I never saw coming and might not even have chosen... But God knew the best outcome - which brought the most joy.

Let us rejoice knowing that an answer to prayer is an answer - no matter how it comes, whether to the last detail of our specificity or in the way the Lord saw fit.

Lord give us eyes to see!

 Martin Luther said


All who call on God in true faith, earnestly from the heart, 
will certainly be heard, and 
will receive what they have asked and desired, 
although not in the hour or in the measure,
 or the very thing which they ask. 
Yet they will obtain something greater and more glorious 
than they had dared to ask.


For more posts about prayer please checkout the following by clicking the titles:




May we all dare to ask believing that He is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.



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Grace & TruthWoman to Woman Ministries, Inspire Me MondayA Wise Women Builds Her HomeSpiritual Sundays, Soul Survival,  Good Morning MondaysTell His StoryFaith & Fellowship Blog Hop  Tuesday Talk   Faith 'N Friends Sitting Among Friends   House to Home  ,Wonderful Wednesday , Literacy Musings Mondays,Imparting GraceDance with Jesus Booknificent Thursdays  Fresh Market Friday Moments of Hope Wonderful Wednesdays , Tea & Word Tuesday Heart Encouragement Thursday Hearts for Home Messy Marriage Link-up Friday at the Fire Station Link-up Tune In Thursday Faith on Fire Link-upSunday Scripture Blessings Link-up, Sunday ThoughtsWriter Wednesday, Faith Filled Friday God Sized Dreams Link-Up Sitting Among Friends Be Thee Inspired Graceful Tuesday Link-up Aprons & Pearls Link-up Trekkingthru Link-up  Encouraging Word Wednesday  Grace Moments Link-up  Encouraging Hearts and Home Worth Beyond Rubies Seeking Sabbath Scripture and a Snapshot IHeart Verse Welcome Heart Kingdom Bloggers Outdoorsy Mommy Anchored Truth Tuesdays IHeart Verse InstaEncouragements

Comments

  1. Thank you for your thoughtful post, Karen. May God be with you as you learn his will in each situation :).

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    1. Your welcome. :-) Praising God for His lessons.

      Thank you for the encouragement and blessing. :-)

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  2. Karen, what a wonderful heart-felt post (like all your posts), I especially liked this quote, "When we allow ourselves to hear the still small voice of the Holy Spirit, He will show us how to pray for each circumstance... whether generally, boldly and specifically or by casting our cares upon Him knowing He will accomplish what concerns us..." Praying with you for God's will in you and your husband's ministry...many blessings to you ❤️

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    1. Beth, Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words.

      Thank you Beth. Your prayers mean so much. :-)

      Blessings to you too!

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  3. I don't know if you got my first comment. My screen suddenly closed when I hit something with my pinky. ~grin~ Thank you for reminding me that God's arm is not too short.
    Visiting from Harvest Lane Cottage,
    Laura Lane

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    Replies
    1. Laura, No, I don't think I did. Thank you for taking the time to comment again. :-)

      Your welcome. Indeed, the strong arm of the Lord is mighty to save.

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    2. Wow, that was so powerful sister! Loved the story about the man in the boat waiting for Gods answer to be fulfilled. I hope I can receive his promises and answers in the right time. I love how God uses others, sometimes those we least expected, to accomplish what he has planned for us. So glad you were my neighbor at 7 days time linkup. Be blessed.

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    3. Sorry not boat but flood. He never got into the boat. :(

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    4. Homegrown Adventures, I'm so glad you were encouraged here today.

      May God bless you abundantly.

      Thanks so much for stopping by! :-)

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  4. What a wonderful post!! Thanks so much for stopping by and for your kind words!!

    Hugs,
    Deb

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    Replies
    1. Debbie, Thank you for your sweet words of encouragement!

      It was a pleasure to visit you! :-)

      Blessings to you.

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  5. Oh, dear Karen! This brought me to tears. You will NEVER know how much I needed this today. I read it out loud to my son, who also needed it, in light of our current trials and situations. I never thought of the left-handed answer aspect...wow, this was just profound. I can't thank you enough for sharing what God laid upon your heart.

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    Replies
    1. Cheryl, Awe dear sister, I am praising God for His encouragement to you through this blog post.

      I'm sorry to hear that your trials and situations are continuing. Please know I continue to lift you and your family up in prayer.

      Hugs and Blessings.

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  6. Wonderful analogies here, dear Karen... Thanks for sharing. And will be praying for God's will to be done with the potential senior pastor position. Blessings, sister!

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    Replies
    1. Sharita, Thank you for your kind words.

      I appreciate your prayers so much. Thank you.

      Blessings to you too! :-)

      Delete

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