What Happens When You Actually Run To God In Prayer?
The End Is Just The Start of It All – Part 5
I call this the scary part of prayer. Any time we run at something like an animal for example, the response we expect is for the animal to take flight. We never expect the animal or whatever it is to continue in our direction with more intensity. That would mess things up a little and maybe cause us to take flight. That’s not what God does, if you run towards Him, He’ll run right at You. I feel that many, most normal people take flight when this occurs. This could be one of the main reasons most have prayers that go unanswered. But think about this, what does it look like when God runs toward you? If you can get a clear picture of what that’s like maybe your first response isn’t flight when it comes to God.
Let me paint this picture. What if you sent a simple email to the CEO of your company and they got on a plane to come see you face to face because of it? Not expected right? What if the pastor of the church heard your complaint and they came to meet with you at your home over it? Could be a little uncomfortable right? What would you think or say? What if the governor of your state heard what you thought of how they were running things and she/he decided to drop what they were doing to come visit you? How would you really respond? Now, when God shows up at your door, would you really open the door and let Him in? What if the doorbell rang and God was on the other side? This is important to know, if you go to God in prayer (that’s running to God), He runs towards you with intensity.
You are about to do more.
What if I told you that every time you bring your thoughts and ideas to God, it’s a trick. He’s planted those ideas and thoughts so that when you bring them to Him, He uses them to get you to do more. In a second, I’ll share an example of this happening to Nehemiah. The other thought I want to make you aware of is, the idea that prayer gives you capabilities that exceed normal capabilities. Here’s why and then we’ll get into it a little deeper. Recall prayer, real prayer, is not what ordinary people do. Prayer is an uncommon action. Therefore it will not align with how you feel, nor what you’d normally think. Your feelings will say that praying won’t produce the results you need or ask for. Your feelings say that it’s not going to turn out in your favor so all we have left is to pray. When you allow such normal feelings to influence you, you’ve talked yourself out of prayer, real prayer, and the extraordinary capabilities that prayer brings. I’ll pause there so that I can keep this content on track.
You have ideas that you could have never conceived on your own.
As you know, Nehemiah was given a problem from his brother and others about his hometown. This led him, as a cup-bearer in those days, to pray a thirty-thousand-foot prayer; he needed a big problem solved. Initially nothing happened even though his heart was burdened by the situation. Finally, his prayer led him to bring his request down to ground-level where he began to act on the things that he prayed. Pause [to the left], don’t make a request unless you’re willing to get involved. Your prayer will set you up.
The next thing that happened was Nehemiah found himself back in his hometown constructing a wall. Think about this for a second: a cup-bearer turned contractor. He laid brick after brick, recruited person after person, and set gate after gate.1 That brings us up to God coming at you when you pray, through your thoughts. It’s said that the wall was huge because the city was large.2 Nehemiah, and all those who helped, completed the wall that encompassed the city. But what good is a wall to a ruined city? Nehemiah didn’t see this thought coming3 when he started his journey of the thirty-thousand-foot prayer. His story continues with the realization that the population was small and none of the homes had been rebuilt. This led Nehemiah to…do something, he’d not signed up for. This is what the outcome of a big prayer, a thirty-thousand-foot prayer looks like. Here’s where his prayer landed him:
- he took a count of all the inhabitants.
- he had the people pool their efforts and resources not to just establish a wall, but the city.
Just like all who pray, Nehemiah thought he signed up to do one job, building a wall which was what God requested, and God had much more in store. He wanted Nehemiah to rebuild the people. What is God showing you in your thirty-thousand-foot prayer that you were blind to when you started the prayer journey?
You won’t be left average, ordinary, or plain.
Let’s take this idea of God coming at us when we turn to Him, just a little further. What does it look like when one makes a step towards God [in prayer] and He then turns to us in response?
We will use the Old Testament prophet Isaiah to demonstrate. Listen to what happened to Him. It says the spirit of the sovereign Lord came upon him.4 In other words, God came at Him and as a result Isaiah became something like no one had ever seen. He became something different, something no longer ordinary, something unusual. He received abilities to bestow beauty on the people instead of ashes. He was able to turn their mourning into your joy. He was able to apply a garment of praise on them, which is uncommon instead of applying a spirit of despair which is natural.5
The point here is when you have God turn and respond to you, He makes you uncommon. And not an unattractive un-commonality nor an uninviting un-commonality. He gives you something to use to make you the answer to others’ prayers. You see there’s nothing ordinary, average, or plain about God. Therefore when He turns to you, there’s no way you can be left average, ordinary, or plain yourself.
The end game of prayer is to alter who you become. Let me be clear about that. If you’re not anticipating you being altered, you’re not ready for prayer. Otherwise, why pray? You go to God for a thirty-thousand-foot prayer so that He can empower you to change the situation. Most normal people pray such prayers but want someone else to be empowered to change their situation. We want the preacher, the doctor, the mailbox to do the work of the prayer, but that’s not how it works. Your prayer more times than not will empower you to do what ordinary people can’t, change the situation.
Question: what happened the last time God came towards you?
Reference #1: Nehemiah 7:1-3 NLT, Bible.com, accessed December 10, 2020, https://www.bible.com/bible/116/NEH.7.1-3.NLT
Reference #2: Nehemiah 7:4 NLT, Bible.com, accessed December 10, 2020, https://www.bible.com/bible/116/NEH.7.4.NLT
Reference #3: Nehemiah 7:5 NLT, Bible.com, accessed December 10, 2020, https://www.bible.com/bible/116/NEH.7.5.NLT
Reference #4: Isaiah 61:1 NIV, Bible.com, accessed December 10, 2020, https://www.bible.com/111/isa.61.1.niv
Reference #5: Isaiah 61:3 NIV, Bible.com, accessed December 10, 2020, https://www.bible.com/111/isa.61.3.niv
All Scripture references used by permission, see our Scripture copyrights.