NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE—Today, churches and campus ministries all over the Every Nation world are beginning 2019 with a week of prayer, fasting, and consecration.
The theme for this year’s fast is “Great Faith.”
As I’ve been thinking and recording my prayer list for 2019 (in the Every Nation prayer and fasting devotional guide), I find myself in a common dilemma: how ambitious should I make my prayer list?
Do I pray for abundant provision, or do I pray for daily bread and wisdom to steward it well?
Do I pray for that unsaved friend or family member to be transformed by the gospel, or do I pray for openness to the gospel?
Do I pray for miraculous healing, or do I pray for grace in suffering?
In other words, should we pray for the impossible—or should we pray for God’s help in the predictable realities of our daily lives?
Should we pray “Thy kingdom come,” or should we pray “Thy will be done?”
Obviously, the answer is both. We can find both kinds of prayers throughout the Bible, bold prayers for miraculous deliverance and steadfast prayers for grace in the fire.
Not everyone is the same, but my tendency is to pray modest “Thy will be done” kinds of prayers that are biblical and require trust in God but not necessarily great faith. We need to pray these kinds of prayers and invite God into the mundane aspects of our everyday lives. But we can’t stop there.
We also need to pray “Thy kingdom come” kinds of prayers—prayers that make us feel uncomfortable, prayers that stretch our faith. When we pray these kinds of prayers, we are asking God to be God, and we are acknowledging that we are not. We are asking God to surprise us with his deliverance. And by asking (and believing) for the impossible, we are risking that God will disappoint us.
So here’s the question: What are you praying for that will require great faith in 2019?
What are you praying for that will require you to be vulnerable and totally dependent on God?
What are you praying for that is so outrageous you are afraid to write it down?
What are you praying for that if God actually answered in the way you hoped, you would be surprised? Or if he didn’t answer the way you wanted, you’d be disappointed?
My prayer is that in this week of prayer and fasting, God by his Spirit will stir up in us the gift of faith—not only so that we pray for greater things, but also so that we can encounter God in a greater way.