40 Day Prayer Challenge – The Hand Prayer

What a blessing it has been to hear several stories you have shared with me from your prayer journey you have embarked upon. One friend told of an amazing reversal in a court case, another about the sweet times of prayer experienced as a family, still others about a renewed sense to seek the presence of God as the chief passion of their daily walk. I have also heard from others about intense spiritual battles that have occurred as you tried to enter into your prayer circle praying bold prayers. This is to be expected, as the enemy knows the unleashing power that pours forth from Heaven when the Father’s children pray.

Wherever you may be in your prayer life keep going no matter what the intensity of your warfare because you may be right at the verge of a spiritual break through. This past week I was captivated by that last prayer of Jesus on the cross, I call it

The Hands Prayer:

“Father into your hands I commit my spirit.”

This may be one of the most effective prayers in all of Scripture. Jesus at the climax of His horrific pain placed His “spirit” securely in the hands of His Father. Everything He had was stripped from Him, family, friends, clothes, respect, ministry, dignity and the loving presence of His Father. Yet, one thing remained, His ability to cry out in prayer and place Himself in the sovereign hands of His Abba Father. Jesus believed that the Hands of His Abba could bring victory out of apparent defeat. In the midst of the clapping and cheers of hell the Father’s hands rescued and resurrected Jesus, the Son of God, back to the glorious throne of Heaven. This Hands Prayer was answered and victory obtained as the Father handed over the Kingdom and placed it in His Son’s nail scared hands.

All week I have being practicing The Hands Prayer and placing my “spirit” in a mighty, loving, gracious, merciful, creative, providing, protecting, encouraging, eternal, holy, saving, reconciling, redeeming, resurrecting, reigning hands…… of my Abba Father. His enormous Hands can handle my family’s needs, spiritual battles, sins, dreams, ministries, disappointments, failures, success, longings, yes any and everything that comes in this life and beyond. There is a peace that flows from Heaven as my small shaky hands reach up to the invisible Hands of the Father who grabs ahold with a gracious grip of grace that won’t let go.

“I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand…For I am the LORD, your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you…” Isaiah 41:10-13.

40-day Prayer Challenge – The Glorious “No!”

Why pray? There are so many answers to that question like:

  • We are commanded to.
  • It demonstrates our trust in the Father.
  • This is the way we develop intimacy with God.
  • This is how we are filled with the Holy Spirit.
  • Miracles do happen.
  • Prayer changes us.

All these reason for prayer are correct and can be found in Scripture, however the overarching purpose of prayer is to bring glory and honor to God.

When we pray we demonstrate our need and humility. We declare our inability to control our lives and place ourselves in the palm of God’s sovereign hand.

The reality is that some of our prayers will be answered with a “no” for our good and for His ultimate glory. Several years ago I was pastoring a church in Southern California where we were looking at some land to purchase for 1.1 million dollars to develop a ministry center for our city. It seemed like God’s will as I prayed with other pastors, leaders of the church, fasted, prayed over the land, and even sold my truck to help with the purchase. But God said no, He had a better plan, even though it didn’t make sense at the time.

A few years later I got called to a church in Western Michigan where there was a small group of people praying to purchase a hospital and turn it into a ministry center. They had the same vision we had in California except there was a move in ready facility that could house several ministries. The long and the short of it is that God performed miracles and the hospital was purchased for 1.1 million dollars. This year City on the Hill in Zeeland MI will celebrate 10 years of ministry with 43 ministries housed there it is a beacon of God’s glory to the community around it.

This experience showed me God’s “no” is ultimately for His glory. His “no” means there is a better plan and purpose that fits His sovereign plan to shine forth His glory. I have learned over the years to accept His “no” because it will lead to another day where His plan will be revealed and I will get to experience His glorious will.

The greatest example of this is found in Jesus prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane when he cries out; “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me…” Matthew 26:39. He was praying for another way to bring in the kingdom other than the cross. His Father said “no!” But gave Him the strength to journey through it. Oh the glory of God that exploded forth from the grave on the third day that is still transforming the world. Keep on praying and know that His “no” is a “yes” to something even more glorious.

“The best answer to prayer is what brings God the most glory!” Mark Batterson

40-day Prayer Challenge – Draw Your Circle

For the next 40 days I have joined with a few others who have committed to praying bold prayers. This challenge was inspired by book that my step-dad Bill gave to me over the holidays called “Draw the Circle, The 40 Day Prayer Challenge,” by Mark Batterson. The book is a call to be bold in your prayer life and shares faith-building stories of answers to prayers, as well as scripture, and prayer prompts that inspire you to call out boldly to the Father.

One of my favorite illustrations from the book told of a crazy Rabbi who lived before Jesus he was nicknamed “Honi the circle maker.” When a severe drought threatened to wipe out a generation of Jews, Honi drew a circle in the sand, dropped to his knees, and said,

Lord of the universe, I swear before Your great name that I will not move from this circle until you have shown mercy upon Your children, (p. 44).

Can you imagine this audacious request; Honi could have been in the circle a long time. But God honored the bold prayer; this shameless type of praying can bring honor and glory to God. That story reminds me of one of my favorite hero’s of faith in the Bible, Elijah, who also prayed bold prayers. In the book of James we are called to follow his prayer pattern:

The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops, James 1:16-17.

Elijah brought glory to God by praying audacious, shameless, prayers, trusting that nothing was impossible for God. I think the Father is waiting for His children to ask relentlessly for miracles that only He can do, in order to show a cynical world the absolute power of His glorious Kingdom coming to earth. This too is how Jesus prayed and what followed were signs and wonders that announced His Father’s reign on earth.

What impossible situation confronts you at this time? What miracle are you in need of? What dream has the Father placed on your heart that seems unattainable? Join me and a few others for the next 40 days and lets draw a circle and kneel in it and ask our Father to reveal Himself glorious by answering bold prayers.

I believe that at the end of this 40-day challenge many will have their own stories to tell of the Father’s greatness. I would love for you to share them with me and post them on the blog for others to see and bring glory to our King!

Go ahead and draw your circle today!