How Dangerous Are Your Prayers?

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Philippians 2:17-18

But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.

CONSIDER THIS

In biblical terms, a drink offering means basically to pour out a cup of wine as an act of worship to God. The worshipper does not drink any of it themselves. It is all poured out as a sign of the victory and the joy of God. In other words, it is a complete sacrifice.

In this letter to the Philippians,Paul is casting a bold vision for us to make a totalizing offer of our lives to Jesus. When Paul calls for us to have the same mind in us that was in Christ Jesus (v. 5), this is what he means. The best part is, Paul not only calls us to this life, he lives it out before our very eyes.

How do we do this? It begins with praying dangerous prayers and the willingness to have the Holy Spirit bend our lives in the shape of those prayers. The best people to learn from on this are people whose lives have proved it true. What dangerous prayers did they pray? One such person and prayer comes to mind in John Wesley. I want to share an excerpt of a dangerous prayer from his life. It is from his Covenant Service, which many traditionally pray on New Year’s Eve or Day. I commend it to us as an everyday prayer.

I am no longer my own, but thine. Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt. Put me to doing, put me to suffering. Let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee, exalted for thee or brought low for thee. Let me be full, let me be empty. Let me have all things, let me have nothing. I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal. And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, thou art mine, and I am thine. So be it. And the covenant which I have made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.

THE PRAYER

Abba Father, we thank you for your Son, Jesus, whose life was and continues to be the ultimate drink offering. Come, Holy Spirit, and give us the fullness of him that our lives might be poured out for his glory. It is in his name we pray, amen.

THE QUESTIONS

  1. Does this sound completely unreasonable to you—that your life would be poured out as a drink offering?
  2. What are you afraid of when it comes to making an unconditional offering of your life to God?
  3. What are you afraid of when it comes to not making an unconditional offering of your life to God? Which fear is greater?

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt, Sower-in-Chief, seedbed.com

P.S. One of my favorite Asbury Seminary professors, Steve Seamands, has done some deep study on the ascension of Christ and has graciously offered to bring it to all of us in a three-hour mini-course on Ascension Day (May 13). If you know Dr. Seamands, you know it’s going to be great. If you don’t know Dr. Seamands, I’d love to introduce you here in a few weeks. ;0) Sign up here.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Yes, this sounds very unreasonable from a purely human perspective. But from a discipleship perspective it makes perfect sense. This is exactly what Jesus requires as a condition to be worthy of be one of his disciples (Luke 9:23-26). These are hard words to hear and even harder to live out, but there’s no other way. I don’t believe that without being born again by the power of the Holy Spirit that any of us can fulfill this requirement. For me, there is a greater fear in not making this unconditional offering than the fear of what might happen if I do. One is the narrow path that leads to heaven, the other, the broad highway that leads to hell. We have a hymn that illustrates the proper choice, Take My Life And Let It Be.

  2. I woke up this morning thinking about the former liturgy that was used by the Methodist/United Methodist Church for The Sacrament of Holy Communion; it was the one I grew up with and it is much needed today because the focus of the Sacrament of Communion was yielding our lives to God and being in love and charity with our neighbor:

    The invitation to Communion: “You that do truly and earnestly repent of your sins, and are in love and charity with your neighbors, and intend to lead a new life, following the commandments of God, and walking from henceforth in his holy ways: Draw near with faith, and take this holy Sacrament to your comfort, and make you humble confession to almighty God.”

    The prayer before taking Communion: “We do not presume to come to this thy table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in thy manifold and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy table. But thou art the same Lord, whose nature is always to have mercy. Grant us therefore, gracious Lord, so to partake of this Sacrament of thy Son Jesus Christ, that we may walk in newness of life, may grow into his likeness, and may evermore dwell in him, and he in us. Amen.”

  3. Excerpts from two more of John Wesley’s prayers; he was all about surrendering our lives; for him there was no such thing as cheap grace:

    1) O that we could begin this day in devout meditations, in joy unspeakable and in blessing and praising thee, who hast given us such good hope and everlasting consolation. Lift up our minds above all these little things below which are apt to distract our thoughts; and keep them above, till our hearts are fully bent to seek thee everyday, in the way wherein Jesus hath gone before us, though it should be with the loss of all we here possess.

    2) O that we may all receive of Christ’s fullness, grace upon grace; grace to pardon our sins and subdue our iniquities; to justify our persons and to sanctify our souls; and to complete that holy change, that renewal of our hearts, whereby we may be transformed into that blessed image wherein thou didst create us.

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