Search me, God, and know my heart ;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
(Psalm 139: 23-24)
|In his book, Dangerous Prayers, Craig recounts how he has been privileged to share in praying for, and with, members of his congregation for many years. People look for guidance and spiritual comfort in times of distress, doubt, and disappointment. We have and still are currently in these times. Last Sunday Warren and I tuned in to Balwyn Baptist’s online Easter Sunday Service and the reality of loss and need for spiritual comfort and prayers were brought home to us. One member had a loved one die of COVID:19 in New York, and another had lost their job due to the virus. Many others were experiencing anxiety and distress for loved ones overseas, and apart from prayer, there was nothing else they could do to change the situation.
Should we pray for help to an all-powerful and all loving God in distressing, doubtful and disappointing times? The answer of course is a resounding “yes”!
However, in this prayer – “Here I am, send me” – the most dangerous of all, we are challenged to shift the focus from asking God to serve us, and instead, asking God to make us available to serve him? Even in circumstances where there is a definite need to ask God to serve us and answer heart wrenching needs, there is still the opportunity to ask God how we can also serve him in these circumstances.
Isaiah answered the prayer of God – “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?” with a resounding “Here I am, I will go!” only after an intensive encounter with his living God (Isaiah 6:1-8) and a complete understanding of his own sinfulness.
But there is one word of comfort that accompanies this dangerous prayer, and that is, that God never calls perfect people and expects only the strong and courageous to answer with “send me!” On the contrary, God calls imperfect, flawed weak men and women just like you and me.
When Isaiah was first given the vision of God, his immediate response was that “he was a doomed man, because of his imperfectness! If we explore the Bible, we will see a litany of imperfect people who answered this prayer, and God used them in mighty ways. Craig points out that not only did God call people who did really bad things, like David and Rahab, he also called unusual, insecure and inconsistent people, such as Noah, who got drunk, Isaac, who was a daydreamer, Joseph who was abandoned and Gideon, who was afraid. There is Jeremiah who was too young, and Abraham who was too old. Elijah battled depression, Naomi became bitter, and Martha was a worrywart. There was Jonah who was rebellious and hard of heart and Moses who was buried in his own insecurities and was afraid to take on the challenge.
The moment we see God for who he is, we see ourselves for what we are not, and that is perfectly ok. The resurrected Christ in whom we celebrated on Easter Sunday, and in whose prophetic spirit has empowered and enlivened us is more than able to give us the courage to pray the surrendered and dangerous prayer, “Here I am, send me!”
When you are surrendered to him, you will have eyes to see where He’s working. A heart to feel what touches His heart, and hand to show His love. And doesn’t the world need Jesus, working in you as a surrendered faith-filled follower, right now?
Rev Gayle Hill
BUV Head of Mission Catalyst
How do you think your life might change if you prayed daily a daring, faith-filled prayer of whole-life devotion to the one who gave it all for you?
God may my hands be your hands in the world today I devote the work of my hands to you,
- Empower me to be productive today, honouring you in all the work that I do.
- Help me God to do everything for your glory.
Lord, direct the steps of my feet,
- May your Word be a lamp directing all my steps.
- Guide me to the right places and right people so I can serve you best today.
- Keep me from the wrong places that might tempt me to sin against you.
- Guide my feet, Lord, into your perfect will.
God, my whole body is yours,
- I know that before I was even created, you had good works, prepared in advance for me to do today.
- Use me, God, to do them all.
- Help me to see needs and meet them.
- Show me those who are hurting that I could encourage them.
- Direct me to those without you so I could help them know your goodness and grace.
- God, I devote every part of me to you and to your will today.
Here I am, Lord. Send me.
Pray also for:
- The members of your group and their concerns
- The three people you have committed to pray for each day who are not followers of Jesus
- The April 18th BUV Calendar prayer – “Protection and provision for the marginalised in society