Pray Audacious Prayers by Max Lucado When Martin Luther’s coworker became ill, the reformer prayed boldly for healing. “I besought the Almighty with great vigor,” he wrote. “I attacked him with his own weapons, quoting from Scripture all the promises I could remember, that prayers should be granted, and said that he must grant my prayer, if I was henceforth to put faith in his promises.” On another occasion his good friend Frederick Myconius was sick. Luther wrote to him: “I command thee in the name of God to live because I still have need of thee in the work of reforming the church... The Lord will never let me hear that thou art dead, but will permit thee to survive me. For this I am praying, this is my will, and may my will be done, because I seek only to glorify the name of God.” As John Wesley was crossing the Atlantic Ocean, contrary winds came up. He was reading in his cabin when he became aware of some confusion on board. When he learned that the winds were knocking the ship off course, he responded in prayer. Adam Clarke, a colleague, heard the prayer and recorded it. Almighty and everlasting God, Thou hast sway everywhere, and all things serve the purpose of Thy will, Thou holdest the winds in Thy fists and sittest upon the water floods, and reignest a King for ever. Command these winds and these waves that they obey Thee, and take us speedily and safely to the haven whither we would go. Wesley stood up from his knees, took up his book, and continued to read. Dr. Clarke went on deck, where he found calm winds and the ship on course. But Wesley made no remark about the answered prayer. Clarke wrote, “So fully did he expect to be heard that he took it for granted that he was heard.” How bold are your prayers? Boldness in prayer is an uncomfortable thought for many. We think of speaking softly to God, humbling ourselves before God, or having a chat with God... but agonizing before God? Storming Heaven with prayers? Pounding on the door of the Most High? Wrestling with God? Isn’t such prayer irreverent? Presumptuous? It would be had God not invited us to pray as such. So let us come boldly to the very throne of God and stay there to receive His mercy and to find grace to help us in our times of need. — Hebrews 4:16 Joshua did this, but not before he didn’t. His prayer life teaches us what happens when we don’t pray as much as it tells us how to pray. In the days following the Shechem gathering, a group of strangers entered Joshua’s camp. They told him, From a very far country your servants have come. — Joshua 9:9 They presented themselves as hapless pilgrims from a distant place. Everything seemed to fit their story. Their grain sacks, sandals, and clothes were worn-out. Even their bread was moldy and dry. They claimed to be allies of the Hebrews. They praised the accomplishments of God and asked Joshua and his men to make a covenant with them. Joshua weighed the options, and his rulers eventually agreed. Three days passed before Joshua realized he had been snookered. These people were not from a distant land; they were from Gibeon, only a day’s walk away. Their weathered clothing was a disguise. They pretended to be foreigners because they knew that the Hebrews had ransacked Jericho and Ai. They may have known that God’s laws had made special provision for cities outside of Canaan (Deuteronomy 20:10-12). Any city that agreed to make peace would be spared. So, being afraid, they resorted to deception. Why didn’t Joshua and the elders detect the ruse? They did not ask counsel of the Lord. — Joshua 9:14 The practice of the Hebrews was supposed to be pray first, act later. Joshua was told to “stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall inquire before the lord” (Numbers 27:21). Joshua failed to do this. He and his council entered into an alliance with the enemy because they didn’t seek the counsel of God. We do well to learn from Joshua’s mistake. Our enemy enters our camp in a disguise as well. Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. — 2 Corinthians 11:14 He is crafty. That’s why it is essential that we . . . Consult God in everything. Always. Immediately. Quickly. Live with one ear toward heaven. Keep the line open to God. “Is this opportunity from You, God?” “Are You in this venture, God?” “Should I take this road, God?” At every decision. At each crossroads. Acknowledge Him, heed Him, ask Him, “Do I turn right or left?” Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. — Proverbs 3:5-6 Our relationship with God is exactly that, a relationship. His invitation is clear and simple: Come and talk with Me, O my people. — Psalm 27:8 (TLB) And our response? Lord, I am coming. — Psalm 27:8 (TLB) We abide with Him, and He abides with us. He grants wisdom as we need it. I once tried giving Denalyn this level of guidance. We were using the GPS on my smartphone to locate a particular destination. Denalyn was driving, and I was reading the map. Just for the fun of it, I muted the volume on the voice and told Denalyn that I would share the direction at the moment she needed it, not before. She did not like that plan. She wanted to know the entire itinerary at once. She preferred to have all the information rather than bits and pieces of it. But I insisted. I told her, “This is good spiritual training. God works this way.” “But you’re not God.” Good point. I told her the entire itinerary. But God doesn’t. He will help us against the devil. He will disclose the craftiness of Satan. But we must regularly consult Him. In everything. His word is a “lamp unto [our] feet” (Ps. 119:105), not a spotlight into the future. He gives enough light to take the next step. Glory Days are such because we learn to hear God’s voice telling us to turn this way or that way. Your own ears will hear Him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go,” whether to the right or to the left. — Isaiah 30:21 Refer every decision to the tribunal of heaven. Like David you can ask God to “bend low and hear my whispered plea” (Psalm 31:2 TLB). Wait until God speaks before you act. Be patient. Monitor your impulse. I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye. — Psalm 32:8 If you feel a check in your heart, heed it and ask God again. This is the only way to outwit the devil’s deceit.