JOY in Prayer | Part 2: Using Prayer to Take a Leap of Faith
Sometimes prayer can lead us to do seemingly crazy things...or better yet, prayer puts us in a close relationship with God who calls us to take a leap of faith that seems impossible. But God is the king of disproving impossibilities, and He uses us to do so. Grace came to me and said that she would like to write for my blog again. What is ironic (and shows that we are best friends and basically the same person) is that we both were wanting to write about the joy in prayer, so that's why this is a two part post. Last week talked about how to pray and how to begin to pray a more meaningful prayer. This week, Grace takes prayer a step further and talks about how prayer can lead to leaps of faith and blind trust in God and his plan for you. Grace took the leap of faith and will be starting Highlands College in the fall to do full time ministry, and it all started with prayer.
“There is no fear in love. Perfect love casts out all fear…” 1 John 4:18
I heard myself verbally say this. At the time, I was in my first season of 21 days of prayer. It was just weeks after the Motion conference and I could feel the Lord calling me into a time of individual conversation with him. On that Sunday morning, I heard Pastor Chris invite the congregation to pray with him every morning from 6am-7am for the next 21 days, and there was something in my spirit telling me to go there, so I did.
On day 1, as I walked in to auditorium of my old high school, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. We started to worship together and I could feel myself getting pulled into the presence of God. After a couple of minutes of worship, everyone who had gathered to pray split up, went and got some prayer request cards, and retreated to a certain place in the auditorium or lobby of Thompson High School. Verbally you could hear these people chasing after God. After observing everyone for a while, I began to do the same.
That was the first moment of my life that I felt like I was having a conversation with the Lord. After asking the Holy Spirit to guide my words, I could feel myself start to come out of this little shell. Day after day, I would look forward to prayer. I started interceding for others and crying over complete strangers while offering their prayer requests before the Lord. I was hooked. Prayer became this exciting time that I felt close to the Lord. My prayers were no longer little snippets of time that I would give to the Lord that were filled with self-centered requests and half-hearted praises of how good He was. It was time spent with God, deep in his presence, and I loved it. This model of prayer really began to change the way I approached God. In the first week of prayer I really didn’t talk about myself much. I knew that there was stuff in my life that needed to be dealt with and there were some questions that I knew would be answered, and I wasn’t ready for that.
One morning, I felt the Lord telling me to talk to Him about my heart. Nervously, I walked to my usual spot in the auditorium, and asked Him, “What?” But here’s the thing… I knew what He wanted to talk about. I knew God was sovereign and that He had purposed me and placed a specific calling on my life. After months of begging for Him to show me why I was created, He showed me, but once I knew what that calling was, I wanted to run in the opposite direction.
I was being called into a time of complete abandonment. Hear me correctly when I say complete. I had always surrendered certain things to the Lord, but there were two things in my life that I hadn’t given to Him: my relationships and my future. I felt my spirit being compelled to surrender, but to be completely honest, I was terrified to do that. One of the idols I struggle with is control. I like to be in control of things, and this is something that I had held back in my relationship with God up until this point. The idea of giving up control to these two aspects of my life were beyond my understanding or physical ability, but in that time of prayer, I heard myself say, “Take it. All of it.”
And just like that, He did.
This was I think my first experience with what I thought to be “radical prayer.” I started praying like I actually had faith that God was going to hold me, take care of me, and do exactly what He said He was going to do. This type of prayer, or rather this approach to prayer completely changed my life, and I believe that it was this time in prayer every morning that the Lord began to truly begin to work on my faith. I didn’t realize how important prayer was. When you are close to God, you understand He is there even when everything in your mind is telling you that He isn’t. This new approach to faith and prayer really prepared me for the season to come.
It’s funny to me that sometimes we submit things to the Lord, and when He answers in an unexpected way, our first reaction is “No.” This “no” is the one I referenced at the beginning of this post. This “no” was my answer to the calling God placed on my life. It was the calling I had run from for years: Ministry.
“Yes” would be uncomfortable. “Yes” would make me abandon my kingdom of comfort that I built around me. “Yes” was scary. “Yes” would cause me to walk out of some relationships. I didn’t feel strong enough for “yes,” so my first reaction was to say “no.” One of my favorite things that I’m learning is that even when our initial reaction is to reject Him, God still chases after us. I began to cover this idea of vocational ministry in prayer because I knew that if I accepted this invitation to a purpose-driven life, everything would change and for this, I did not have enough strength on my own.
My life verse is Mark 8:36, and it says, “Why would a man gain the whole world to lose his soul?” I knew that this life is fleeting, and I am called to give my best, no matter what part of my life that it may be. I had to start praying to deny my flesh and lose the world’s idea of what my future was supposed to look like. God is so sovereign in and over our lives, and I’m learning this more everyday. I had to meet God in this new place --- uncharted waters. Prayer became my lifeline because it was the only thing I had that I felt was constant in my life. Everything was changing, and I could feel my heart being moved into a new season. This season of trusting God with my future could only be supported with a certain closeness with God that could only come about by reckless abandonment in my prayer life. Through prayer, the Lord changed my answer from “no,” to “maybe,” to “yes.”
Now listen, that last sentence summarizes about 5 months of struggling, running, crying, and the other 7,000 emotions that come with making a radical leap of faith. That’s what all of this is for me… vocational ministry, starting a new school where I abandon my old future, moving away from Mobile, all of it. It is scary. But, after all this is written and said, I want this to reflect on nothing more than the grace of Christ and how wonderful it is that that He places calling and purpose on our lives, even when we don’t want it. We get the chance to give our plans to the Creator and trust Him with it--- and for this, I am so thankful. Prayer changed my life. A continuous closeness with God will transform everything.
If you hear one thing from all of this, please know that reckless abandonment can be really scary, but getting real with God in your prayer life will cause you to make leaps of faith that you were never thought possible. Trust Him. I never thought I would change my career path and have a calling of ministry on my life, but hey, God is funny and His plans are always far better than mine. He is far better than any comfort of the world and far greater than any fear of the world. So when you have the chance to (because at one point or another, we will all have to take a leap of faith no matter how small or big that leap may seem), I would like to encourage you to drown your future in prayer, completely hand it over to the Lord, and then leap. It’s worth the jump.