My Prayer Becomes My Quest

When Two Worlds Collide

The Thirty-Thousand-Foot Prayer On The Ground – Part 3

To reach the end of a thirty-thousand-foot prayer will take you on a journey. It reminds me of that 1980’s movie, The NeverEnding Story. While this title is definitely not the message I wish to convey. That prayer is like a “NeverEnding Story.” In this case it’s similar because young Bastian will never reach the end of his journey of saving the mythical land of Fantasia, if he’s unwilling to turn the pages of his ancient storybook. Locked in it’s pages is his mapped out journey and steps he must take to become a hero. In the same way, there are steps you will have to take in order to see your thirty-thousand-foot prayer answered and it will take courage to turn the pages of your story.

Your actions matter. Traveling takes actions. You must place one boot in front of the other and keep moving. You’ll never end up someone on purpose without having to take some actions. No matter what the terrain looks like, it will take you making steps to get across it. As Bastain reads the ancient book, it takes him into the story as he watches Atreyu travel his journal through what seems like uncrossable terrain. With the help of others, he’s able to overcome the obstacles found along his quest. It may at times seem as if the “terrain you must cross is uncrossable or too rough, but it’s up to you to keep moving and find ways to keep moving ahead.

Prayer has Two Side 

In The NeverEnding Story, you’ll find two worlds or realms that interact with each other. Bastain appears to be alone reading his ancient book in the school attic. At the same time, Atreyu, a young warrior, is in the mythical land of Fantasia on his quest to find a cure to save their world. At the climax of the story, the two worlds collide, Bastain finds himself in Fantasia and its fate rests in his ability to believe. In the same way, your prayer brings two realms together making it possible for a thirty-thousand-foot prayer to be answered. 

Like a mythical journey, prayer is exciting. Prayer is even fun at times and can be amazing. Normal prayer practices that you see everyday aren’t even supported by the Bible. Normal people only pray before a meal or before they close their eyes to sleep. The only meal I can think of, that prayer, preceded it was when Jesus fed the multitude. He blessed the food in order to produce more food so that many were fed from what was not enough. Jesus’ prayer produced a miracle. In this example, Jesus’s prayer brought items from one world (Heaven) to His world (Earth). From one realm to another realm, from one side to another side. What is your prayer producing? 

“Prayer is a dialogue, not a monologue.” – Unknown

Side A – You (Earth) to Him (Heaven)
Common, ordinary, and average thinking is that prayer is the only time one can talk with God. We’ve made it a time you decide to spend dedicated to talking with God. It’s not the time that He has chosen to speak to you. Most give God their list of problems and simply walk away after only having a Side A – You (Earth) to Him (Heaven) conversation. It’s as if you were reading the story and stopped reading before you’re given your part in the story.

Side B – Him (Heaven) to You (Earth)
God may just want to speak with you when He wants to speak with you. Have you ever considered that? Here’s an example from the Bible, our ancient Book. See here what happened to young Samuel.

One night Eli, who was almost blind by now, had gone to bed. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was sleeping in the Tabernacle near the Ark of God. Suddenly the LORD called out, “Samuel!” “Yes?” Samuel replied. “What is it?” – bible.com/bible/116/1SA.3.2-4.NLT

God speaks often and much. It’s us who don’t realize it. We don’t realize He’s inviting us to be a part of the journey, our journey. 

A Major Part of Prayer is Finding the Courage to Act

Yes, acting is the result of praying. Your prayer is a request to God asking what you can do next. It’s accepting your quest. That’s where Nehemiah erred. He prayed and wanted to get out of the situation; he didn’t have any intentions of making the problem his responsibility. He didn’t realize, like most, he’d have to accept the quest. When you pray, the majority of the time the action becomes your responsibility, your quest. 

I don’t know if it was the time that passed, the situation worsening, or the agony of seeing King Artaxerxes’ kingdom in great shape while his hometown was in shambles that led Nehemiah to take an action and finally accept his quest. But his burden drove him to act. 

Let’s leave Fantasia for a moment and go back to Nehemiah’s encounter with the king to see how Nehemiah went from praying with no-intent-to-act to praying with intent-to-act. He worked for the king and he was good at his job, but Nehemiah had a passion and desire to do something for his hometown. There was a wall that surrounded the town that was in ruin; the city was in ruins. Nehemiah’s passion and desire was so great that he needed to do something about it and it was weighing heavily upon him. 

“It was the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king. At the hour for serving wine I brought it in and gave it to the king. I had never been hangdog in his presence before, so he asked me, “Why the long face? You’re not sick are you? Or are you depressed?” That made me all the more agitated. I said, “Long live the king! And why shouldn’t I be depressed when the city, the city where all my family is buried, is in ruins and the city gates have been reduced to cinders?” The king then asked me, “So what do you want?” Praying under my breath to the God-of-Heaven, I said, “If it please the king, and if the king thinks well of me, send me to Judah, to the city where my family is buried, so that I can rebuild it.”” – bible.com/bible/97/NEH.2.1-5.MSG

I noticed something interesting that I have never really noticed in this particular passage before.

  1. Nehemiah was respected by his boss, in this case the king.
    For you to have the opportunity to have your prayer answered you have to do your work well. See you thought you could just drop your prayer request off to God and poof that’s it. No; it’s not. That’s the thirty-thousand-foot style prayer that doesn’t work. It’s time to bring it down to the ground. You need to start writing your plan and organizing the work. Many times it starts with what you’re currently doing. I read a book called “It Only Takes Everything You’ve Got.” In that book, it implies that you and I have everything we need in our possession to do what it takes at this moment. You and I have all we need to accomplish whatever it is that’s inside of us. We have all we need to accomplish the dreams we have. We have all we need to take our first step or just our next steps in our quest.
  2. The king realized that even though Nehemiah did a great job, there was something inside of him that wasn’t quite adding up.
    As you do, God does. As you move along the ground taking territory, a small portion of the thirty-thousand-foot prayer begins to come in view, God provides what you need when you need it. He’ll have the king become interested in your quest. The king asked Nehemiah what was going on. And here’s the good part about it. We have an opportunity by how we’re performing our day to day activities. 

It’s easy to fall into the trap of conventional prayer habits, had that been Nehemiah, he would have remained deeply troubled…because that’s what normal people do. They leave the prayer in a one-sided state. They unlike Bastian close “The NeverEnding Story” because it places the responsibility to “go and do” on their shoulders. I’m glad I get to talk to people like you, you desire to do what the ordinary won’t. You’re turning the pages, you’re willing to flip over to side-B, and you’re placing yourself in a position to bring an end to a story that doesn’t for ordinary people. You’re accepting the quest to your thirty-thousand-foot prayer.

Question: What action or step are you not taking that you can take?

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