What if you could be radical in prayer? What does radical prayer look like?

Radical prayer takes courage.

Do you know that for those of us who followers of Jesus we are encouraged to ask God for things and to do things.

Philippians 4:6

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

God wants us to ask Him for things, in every situation.

When it comes to asking God for things perhaps, this done through prayer, through essentially talking to God, we could say there are different types of prayer.

The little prayer perhaps could be described as maybe praying for a certain type of carparking space.

The medium prayer would be perhaps asking for help with a difficult conversation.

But what would constitute radical asking?

Are there examples of radical requests in the bible?

When I was thinking about this, two occasions jumped to my mind. Now what makes something radical I guess is different for each person but bear with me as I unpack these two examples.

Genesis 18:16-33

These verses tell of an encounter between God and Abraham that took place near Sodom and Gomorrah . Sodom and Gomorrah were two cities that had lost there way, in fact their sin was so grievous that God intended to destroy the cities.

Abraham went for a big ask at this point, he decided to try and negotiate with the creator of the universe.

Genesis 18:23-26

23 Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24 What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare[c] the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? 25 Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?”

26 The Lord said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”

Feeling perhaps a little bit bolder Abraham asked a few more times and God agreed to the following:

Genesis 18:32-33

32 Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?”

He answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.”

33 When the Lord had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home.

Now to find out how it turned out for Sodom and Gomorrah you will need to read Genesis 19

But to me this is radical asking.

One more example:

Matthew 8:5-9

5 When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6 “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”

7 Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?”

8 The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

To me this is radical, a centurion who wasn’t a Jew asked Jesus to heal his servant, and didn’t even need Jesus to see the servant, he had the boldness to know that if Jesus said it, it would be done.

Abraham and the Centurion made bold radical asks in my mind.

So, my question is do we?

The answer is often we don’t.

Why don’t we.

I would say one of the biggest stumbling blocks is what happens if my prayer isn’t answered?

I get that, an unanswered prayer can lead to many different emotions to many different feelings.

  1. Anger/disappointment why didn’t God heal that person.
  2. Embarrassment nothing seemed to happen.
  3. Rejection God doesn’t love me.

These are just some of the emotions we may feel. Alongside these emotions we may feel like we no longer want to pray, want to ask God for anything.

Unanswered prayer can be very painful.

Now I could offer some thoughts on why prayer isn’t answered and in some cases, they would provide satisfactory answers in others they wouldn’t.

I have been thinking long and hard about unanswered prayer for some time.

This is where I have landed. This may not be fully coherent, fully structured but I ask you to bear with me.

I have decided that I know God love me. His word tells me that, my experience shows me that.

However hard it is I have decided to accept that some prayers will be answered in the way I wanted them to be, and some prayers, sometimes very painfully won’t be answered in the way I wanted them to be.

I don’t want to downplay how hard that second part is.

It goes back to I know that God loves me.

I will cling on to that like a life raft. Knowing He loves me will sustain me during the storms, will comfort me during the pain, will hold me in my suffering.

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