Two Actions To Begin Your Journey
The Thirty-Thousand-Foot Prayer On The Ground – Part 4
Moving forward requires you doing the right things. Have you ever considered that it’s continuing to do the wrong things that’s holding you back? There will come a point in your journey that you realize you’ll have to lose some baggage. The stuff you’ve been carrying can’t make the trip. Trying to carry baggage you don’t need is doing the wrong thing. Making sure you pack the stuff you need for your journey that’s the right thing to do. As you travel you’ll find out that even people you love and care about won’t make the journey with you. You must be okay with losing the wrong things so that you can pick up the right things for this journey, your thirty-thousand-foot prayer.
In the 1980’s film, Bustin’ Loose, Richard Prior playing an ex-con named Joe Braxton and Cicely Tyson, a school teacher for several special-needs children, are on such a journey where they must leave behind their past. In doing so it requires Joe to lay aside his old life of doing the wrong things for a life of doing the right. He’s done wrong for so long, he struggles to figure out how to do things right and feels unqualified for the role he must play. He must learn how to mentor the kids and be a model adult and as he does this, the residue from his old life comes out. He teaches the children to play poker. He uses his old tactics to secure funds to save the farm house needed for the children’s new home which turns into a disaster. It’s funny to see how Joe must adapt in order for not only himself, but for the sake of others. In the same way, this is what your thirty-thousand-foot prayer represents. It’s not just for you, but it’s for others. With this in mind let’s return to Nehemiah’s story and his discussion with king Artaxerxes about his thirty-thousand-foot prayer request.
You need the right answers when asked about what you’re doing.
“The king asked, “Well, how can I help you?” With a prayer to the God of heaven, I replied, “If it please the king, and if you are pleased with me, your servant, send me to Judah to rebuild the city where my ancestors are buried.” The king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked, “How long will you be gone? When will you return?” After I told him how long I would be gone, the king agreed to my request.” – Nehemiah
How is it that the king agreed to such a request? Nehemiah, a simple cup-bearer is going to rebuild a city? This was the same Nehemiah who just a few moments ago was downtrodden. Nehemiah must have left some type of impression on this king. What type of impression do you have with those around you?
More importantly did you catch the part that’s easily overlooked: “with a prayer to the God of heaven.” You see we so discount the power of prayer that in a story like this, it’s missed. I believe this was the key. It’s key in that it explains what type of man Nehemiah really was and as a result left such an impression on the king that he agreed to Nehemiah’s request with no doubt that Nehemiah could do the job in the time-frame Nehemiah offered. Nehemiah’s unspoken actions led me to these two ideas that will aid us in achieving our thirty-thousand-foot prayer:
1) All it takes is a simple prayer.
2) Leave behind what you don’t need for this journey.
All it takes is a simple prayer.
We must change the way we pray. There have been times when all I knew to do was to beg God to give me what I thought I needed or do something I wanted Him to do in my life. I used prayers like…
Lord, please, get me out of this (situation).
I need you Lord to get me out of that (problem).
Lord, help me to… and I will never…
Bless “so and so”…
I have since found that this is very common and produces very little results if any at all. It’s what common people do. They are the type of people who don’t have a true relationship with God as their very own Father. I call these prayers useless, directionless, and uncertain. It’s equivalent to gambling in some respects; like blowing out candles on a birthday cake and making a wish. I wish God would do these things are prayers of sinners, doubters, and those who lack knowledge. There was no time for Nehemiah to pray a useless, directionless, or uncertain prayer when he was standing before the king and queen.
““The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply.” – bible.com/97/mat.6.7-8.msg
Prayer is not begging God as ordinary people would have you believe. Jesus said don’t be prayer ignorant or pray ignorantly. Instead pray very simply. I would hate to mislead you, but it takes more effort today to pray than it does the way we’ve been taught all these years. By the way, Jesus never instructed us to pray scripture or recite His word as if He didn’t know it. In fact, not only does He know His word, He is His word, and He knows what you need. Prayer should never be isolated or considered an event, but simply a conversation with God. As Nehemiah displays it can be very quick and can occur in the midst of a situation where God’s help is most needed.
I’d like to give you this definition for “prayer”: Prayer is communicating with God all the actions you’ve taken the previous day whether negative/bad or positive/good and obtaining His perspective on what actions you should take today.
With a prayer to God in Heaven, Nehemiah replied to the king. Nehemiah didn’t do the begging thing with God nor the king.
Leave behind what you don’t need for this journey.
Leave something behind. Leave behind what you don’t need for this journey in this case it’s to leave behind who you once were. That’s why I say pack what you need and lose what you don’t. Pack your new identity. Pack your new plans. Pack your new requests. Pack your new life. Pack your new job. Leave behind your old home. Leave behind your old relationships. Leave behind the way you used to do it. Leave behind the old way of thinking. Leave behind whatever’s necessary for you to take the steps towards your thirty-thousand-foot prayer.
“And they left their nets at once and followed him.” – bible.com/bible/116/MAT.4.20.NLT
The guys (who later became known as Jesus’s disciples) left what they were currently involved in (the common) and gave their lives to following Him (to become no-longer-common). What have you left behind to follow Him (to become no-longer-common)? Or what do you refuse to leave behind that keeps you from following Him (remaining common)?
JoeBraxton and Vivian Perry, the school teacher, had to leave behind the city of Philadelphia for a country farm in Washington state. This journey required them to leave behind the convenience of living in the city to the inconveniences of living in the country. They left behind the restless city life for the quiet comfort of the country life. What can you leave behind so that you can pick up something you’ve not had before? Are you willing to pick up the courage to stand before the king as Nehemiah did? Do you have the courage to take a bus load of children across the country just so that can have a home?
Are you ready to get serious about prayer? It’s time out to be a so-called prayer warrior with no results coming from the prayers you’ve prayed for, so that you can simply pray a prayer that God hears.
Question: What’s your simple prayer?
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