Asking for the Audacious

by Andy Wood on May 18, 2010

in Exploring the Possibilities, Five LV Laws, Insight, Life Currency, LV Cycle, Principle of Increase

Have you ever wondered if God gets bored?

I already know the answer, of course.  Whatever else I understand about the Lord, He is eternally interesting.  And when it comes to us, He’s eternally interested.

But every once in a while, in the middle of the every-day kinds of exchanges, somebody actually takes at face value what He said, and comes calling.

No, I mean calling.  As in, asking wasn’t enough – now I’m seeking.  And since I’m not finding, I’m knocking.  And when somebody like that cries out to God, I believe all of Heaven sits up and pays attention.

That is what the Lord encouraged, right?

Call on me in prayer and I will answer you. I will show you great and mysterious things which you still do not know about (Jeremiah 33:3, NET).

I wonder if He really meant that.  Or if, when He invited us to come boldly before the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16), He really meant kid-confident boldness.

My son, age 5:  “Daddy, I have a question.”

Me:  “What’s that?”

Joel:  “When you die, can I have all your tapes?”

It was the biggest, boldest thing he could think of at the time (there were a lot of tapes).

When was the last time you asked for something that was so bold, so out there, that it was completely unprecedented?  Maybe it’s time to give it a try.

Sons of Blunder?

Get this scene.  Repeatedly throughout the ministry of Jesus, He has encouraged them to pray to a God with whom all things are possible.  He has called out faith in them to speak to mountains, and promised that anything asked in faith they would receive.  He has manifested His glory to a few, and His power to the many.  And now, He’s warning them.

“I’m going to Jerusalem,” He said, “and I’m going to be arrested, beaten, mocked, spit upon, flogged, then crucified”  (Mark 10:34).

Sober stuff. 

Now enter James and John.  “Teacher,” they start, “We want You to do for us whatever we ask of you.”

This should be interesting.  “And what would that be?” Jesus asks.

“When you sit on your glorious throne, we’d like to sit in places of honor next to you – one on Your right, the other on your left.”

Ooooh.  Talk about your tacky timing.  Bad form, boys!  I’ve rolled my eye at these guys for years over this.  The arrogance.  The ignorance.  The raw ambition.  At least they were honest, I guess.

But wait a minute.  Hadn’t that been exactly what Jesus had promised they could do?  If they believed and asked in His name, couldn’t they ask for anything?

So they asked.  And the other disciples were really huffy about all this.  Mainly, I’m sure, because they didn’t think of it first.

Another Kind of Answered Prayer

I love what Jesus didn’t do here.  He didn’t chew them out for asking for the audacious.  Instead, he locked eyes on them and replied soberly:  “You don’t know what you are asking.”

Uh oh.  This just got serious.  And Jesus took their request very seriously.  “Are you willing,” He asked, “to drink the cup I have to drink?  To be immersed in what I am about to be immersed into?”

James and John didn’t back down.  With all the bravado they had, they said yes.  And even when their cohorts growled about it, they didn’t crawfish.

Jesus, in reply, didn’t say, “No.”  He didn’t say, “Yes,” either.  Nor did He treat their bold desire as silly.  He answered their request by putting them on a pathway.

“You ask to sit on the right hand and left.  Okay.  I’ll see to it that you’re put on the right hand and left hand pathways.  The rest is up to you and the Father.” 

This is important, because it may explain what’s going on in your world.  Audacious requests sometimes lead to a harrowing journey to see them granted.

 (A minor example:  If I ask God to make me a doctor, I believe He can.  He would also put me on a path, and insist that I drink the cup of and be immersed in Medical School, and now Obamacare.)

Big requests sometimes lead to hard paths.

Do you realize what a gift this is?  You have this amazing, grace-based position to come into His presence with the craziest, most whacked requests possible… and know that your Father doesn’t laugh you off as ignorant or stupid.  Instead, He takes every childlike (and childish!) request soberly and lovingly.  So have the courage to ask for the audacious.  After all, Jesus plainly encouraged us to do so. 

But it’s important to recognize that answers to such prayers sometimes call for pathways to walk, “cups to drink” and “immersions to experience.” Pay attention to the pathways, especially the hard ones.  They may just be God’s answers to prayers you yourself have prayed.  And because of that, the enemy will seek to thwart both your faith and the Lord’s pathway to your answers.  He will try to distract or intimidate you from trusting God, from praying, and from drinking the cup.  Remember that the joy of the Lord is your strength, and guard against attacks of discouragement.

This also matters in relationships with people.  Other gospels tell us that James and John had Mama there for the big request.  She, too, was asking for the audacious – not for herself, but for her children.  You should, too.  But you need to recognize that the Lord loves your children far more than you ever could.  And His plans to prosper them may mean they have to walk through one of those “drink the cup” seasons.  Trust Him.  Encourage them. 

This is also why God calls us to stay connected to a larger community, where you can pray and receive prayer and encouragement from others.  As you pursue opportunities to give and serve beyond your own personal needs and interests, you embark on a pathway to what you most want from the Lord.

Somebody you know may be asking for the audacious.  But they may also be “drinking the cup.”  And the temptation is always to look for an escape or a shortcut.  Be a voice of encouragement.  Remind them that the way out is the way through. 

Why Bother?

So with stakes this high, and risks this huge, why not retreat to the “safety” of itty, bitty, baby-food-safe requests?

You could.  And God would love you no less.   But oh, what you would miss in the process.

I have no clue where James and John will be sitting.  But I know where they stood.  James became the first witness to experience the glory of a martyr’s death.

John was the only disciple not to die a martyr’s death.  He lived to be a very old man, who, in isolation and exile, experienced the glory of God in the form of what we call today the Book of Revelation.

Both men drank the cup.  And both were immersed into a world of eternal adventure.  But neither had any standing or merit that you don’t also possess as a Christ-follower.

The Lord invites you… He calls you…

Ask for the audacious. 

Seek the eternal adventure. 

Knock on the door of the daring. 

The worst He can tell you is, “No.”  But if you’re willing to walk the pathway and trust Him, you may be the reason the mountain actually moves.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Thomas June 22, 2010 at 9:53 pm

Thanks for posting this, I needed to hear something like that. I used to dream and pray big,and God took me down some strange paths, but the mundaness of life has “matured” me into a person who simply accepts the way things are.

Minor point: leave politics out of faith(obamacare).

LindyWise October 23, 2010 at 12:33 pm

Dear Brother: Where have you been all my Christian Life.?…OK, no looking back–all that matters is that your blog is here now, and I need this like a thirsty woman needs a drink of living water–desperate. Thank Jesus for you and the Internet. I love you Jesus. I love you brother. Sign me–sincerely going to be in your abundant entrance line. Your sister, Lindy

Write a book. And, if more than one has said this–it is a confirmation. The whole body of Christ needs to hear what Christ is saying through you. Exactly like YOU are saying it.

Andy Wood October 23, 2010 at 1:14 pm

Lindy,

Wow, thanks for the encouragement. Please keep reading. And about that book thing? Keep watching… 🙂

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