Monday, September 19, 2011

Sweat Equity and Prayer

Okay, this chapter is for all of us who could - without any trouble - be spiritual couch potatoes. What's that? Well, a spiritual couch potato is someone who prays and prays and prays for God to do something, work a miracle, but never takes any steps to make that happen. You know what I mean...

"God help me get out of debt," as you pull out the credit card for another impulse purchase.

"God help me lose weight," as you reach for a third piece of pizza instead of reaching for your walking shoes.

"God please help me pass this test," as you watch TV instead of cracking a book to study.

"God, I need a better job," as you refuse to learn a new skill, or update your resume, or apply for better jobs.

"God please help me to know you better," as you choose sleep and other activities over designated time with God.

"God please help my family to be closer," as you choose other activities over spending time with your kids.

Get the picture?  Painful isn't it?

We are all guilty of one or more of the above, and others, if we're honest. The point of this chapter of SUN STAND STILL, by Steven Furtick, is not to berate and pummel us into whimpering, helpless little puddles, but to encourage us to act audaciously as we pray that way. 

Consider this statement:

"Praying Sun Stand Still prayers isn't about thinking audacious thoughts. It's about activating audacious faith. It's about making you move. Pushing while you pray." (p.180).

Think about this: You wake in the middle of the night to the smell of smoke and the roar of fire in your home. Do you 1) gather your family together, find your bible and begin searching for scriptures relevant to the situation, get in a circle and hold hands as you pray and ask God to rescue you and your family from the fire and keep you safe, or...2) grab your family and get the heck out of the house and call 911?

The correct answer is #2, and choosing that option does NOT negate the power of God to save your family, nor does it make you less spiritual and obedient for acting without waiting for a specific directive from God. You actually already have one. 

God gave us a brain, the ability to reason and think, and common sense to identify cause and effect scenarios and take action based on what we know will happen. Consider the examples above. It does little good to pray for God to bless your financial situation when you aren't prepared or willing to be responsible with what he's given you. Likewise, it will be colossally ineffective to pray for God to make you healthy when you refuse to exercise and continue to eat like a garbage disposal. 

Okay, enough meddling...

In this chapter, Steven talks about the difference between STANDING in hope, and WALKING in faith. He goes back to the story of Joshua to point out that Joshua's greatest victory came AFTER  1) God had promised the victory and THEN Joshua and his men marched - all night - in the dark - in enemy territory - uphill. 

The story doesn't provide us with specifics about that march and what those men were thinking and feeling, but we can guess: exhaustion, fear, uncertainty and doubt, a strong desire to quit and go home, the thought that the prize they fought for might not really be worth it, anger (at their leader and at God), feelings of inadequacy and ineffectiveness. 

What else can you add to that list? 

How does this relate to your life situation? What are you praying about, needing a miraculous, audacious answer for?

Are you praying? If not, start today. If you are, what do you need to be doing to move this situation along? 

I love this quote. What do you think about it?

"Hope is a desire. Faith is a demonstration. Hope wants it to 
happen. Faith causes it to happen and acts as if it's already done."  (p.181).


"Audacious faith is not passive. Neither is audacious prayer" (p. 177)

Neither of these statements is meant to shift the focus from God to us. It is and always has been about what God will do through us. It does mean that we don't need to bother to pray audacious prayers of faith if we are not prepared to act. As Steven says: 

"If you're going to ask God to make the sun stand still, you'd better be ready to march all night." (p.175)

So the question for you today is, are you doing your part to bring about the miracles for which you are praying? What step of faith do you need to take today to put feet to your faith? And...


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