Three Taverns Church

A Terrifying Prayer


I sought out Francis Chan on YouTube today; it’s been too long since I watched this gifted man preach the Word of God. One of the several sermons I saw was called “Lukewarm and Loving It”. Chan spends most of the sermon calling out Christians who like their watered-down American Comfort Christianity, those who rationalize away difficult passages to justify their standard and style of living. He quoted Revelation 3:16 where Jesus warned the church of Laodicea, “So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” At the conclusion of the sermon Chan asked his congregation (and thereby asked me today) to pray a simple, terrifying prayer:

“God, please do whatever you have to do to make me come on fire for you.”

“…whatever you have to do…”

My mind immediately went to all the dark, horrible things that God might do to make good on that prayer. It wasn’t until several hours later on my drive home that I realized how silly my fears were. I saw that there were really only two possible outcomes from praying this prayer:

1)      God doesn’t exist and thus there is no one to hear or respond to my prayer…in which case I’m safe
2)      God does exist and He is every bit as wonderful, loving, and awe-inspiring as the Holy Bible makes Him out to be…in which case I’m safe

If God is all He claims to be in His book, if the kingdom of heaven really is like selling all you have to buy a field where treasure is hidden (Matthew 13:44), then don’t I want to be on fire for Him? Of course I do. Then why was it so hard for me to pray this prayer? I suspect it’s because I don’t really believe, or at least I don’t believe in the God of the Bible. I don’t believe that suffering as Jesus, Job, Peter or Paul did would be ‘worth it’. Instead I believe in a distant, petty and vindictive God who is just waiting for me to screw up and pray something like this so He can really stick it to me.

When I prayed this prayer I felt strongly a sense of dread and wonder at what God might do next. I’ll be sure to keep you in the loop, but until then I want to challenge you to pray the same prayer I did:

“God, please do whatever you have to do to make me come on fire for you.”

Either nothing will happen, in which case you’ve got bigger problems than you realize now, or something awful and painful will happen, a death-like experience that you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy, and that you wouldn’t trade for the world.

I trusted God once like this and my experience was very similar to what I just described.

I am praying and trusting Him again, and I hope you will, too.

2 thoughts on “A Terrifying Prayer

  1. “When I prayed this prayer I felt strongly a sense of dread and WONDER…”

    This was the phrase that jumped out at me from your post. It is what I lean on as I know that God will have His way in my life if I let Him. Because God loves me and wants what’s best for me, and because He delights in me and wants to show me more of His world and His people, I am constantly in WONDER of what He will place before me next. I know that He prepares my path, and He prepares me for that path, so whatever I come across is something He has seen all along and knows that it has the potential to shape me more into the man He wants me to be – IF I will respond in faith and love and hope to these challenges and opportunities.

  2. Pingback: T-Minus 4 Days And Counting | rabidmongoose

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