What Are You Doing to Create Opposition?
The Thirty-Thousand-Foot Prayer On The Ground – Part 5
As you travel, there will always be obstacles, setbacks, and problems to overcome. It’s a part of life. There’s no perfect path carved out to get you to a place you’ve never been or for that matter no one else has ever been. You must be prepared to face opposition and not allow this to let you lose sight of what must be accomplished. You know it’s coming, be mentally, and physically ready for it on your thirty-thousand-foot quest.
Be Careful What You Pray For
I should have mentioned this early if I haven’t already. Be careful what you pray for. Allow me to take a step back before we look at what happens to Nehemiah, following his quick prayer and his response to the king.
I’ve noticed that when I pray for things, especially people that I need to have removed from my life, the prayer always backfires. When someone gets in my way or causes me some unnecessary headaches or hardship, I’ll pray to God to remove this from my path. When I start to pray about selfish things like that, and what I want to happen to the people that are around me, it backfires. When I go to pray and I talk to God about such things, I’m not concerned with whether they’re right and I’m wrong or whether they’re wrong and I’m right. I just go right to God with it.
Lord, get these people out of my way.
I wish my boss wouldn’t act like this.
I wish this would happen to this person.
I know from time to time we all want to pray those prayers and sometimes we will. However, they’re not going to be effective prayers, because we forget this one uncommon thought. My prayers always end in God directing me. If you pray and God replies, the reply comes to you and not them.
When you do present that request to God, He does hear you. And something amazing happens when you go to prayer like that. He’ll end up talking to you not about them, but about you. I call it amazing because it wasn’t what you intended. This is how I know that I’ve really heard from God when I pray. You know you have prayed when you want to pray for something to happen to somebody else, but your prayer ended up back on you. It turns around and ends up on you. Somehow the prayer defaults back to you. It’s like a rebound. You threw it up and miraculously it ends up back in your hands. It’s like a boomerang. You’re praying toward someone else but that boomerang spins around and comes right back and hits you. What gives?
Now you’re ready to think about Nehemiah. His original prayer, the one at thirty-thousand-foot was prayed such that it should have never involved him taking any actions. But as you know that prayer didn’t work. It’s a common prayer mistake, leaving a prayer at thirty-thousand-feet. If you want to pray a prayer that yields results, then I advise you to be careful what you pray for. Because that prayer will end up coming back on you. Like Nehemiah, you might have to leave the comforts of the king’s palace.
The Hand of God Is Upon the One Who Prays
“I also said to the king, “If it please the king, let me have letters addressed to the governors of the province west of the Euphrates River, instructing them to let me travel safely through their territories on my way to Judah. And please give me a letter addressed to Asaph, the manager of the king’s forest, instructing him to give me timber. I will need it to make beams for the gates of the Temple fortress, for the city walls, and for a house for myself.” And the king granted these requests, because the gracious hand of God was on me.” – bible.com/116/neh.2.7-8.nlt
What seemed like a request that the king would certainly deny, was approved. Why? God’s hand was on Nehemiah. Why? Nehemiah prayed. When you pray, really pray that is, God’s hands will be upon you. Not your mother. Not pastor. Not some well-known prophet. You. That means, you’re the key to your thirty-thousand-foot prayer being answered. What happens when your biggest requests get approved? You know the one where it would take a miracle to see happen.
Maybe it’s a breakthrough to get that new home.
Maybe it’s the money needed to send your child to college.
Maybe it’s a large financial seed you want to give to God via your church.
Maybe it’s healing of an issue of a loved one.
Maybe it’s the restoration of a marriage that’s been destroyed.
What if when you prayed, really prayed, God granted you the tools you need to respond to any of the issues mentioned above? The question is what are you asking for from the ground? The issues listed are a good thirty-thousand-foot view of the problem, but what do you need to begin the journey to seeing these issues answered now that His hand is upon you?
There Are People Who Don’t Want Your Gift
“When I came to the governors of the province west of the Euphrates River, I delivered the king’s letters to them. The king, I should add, had sent along army officers and horsemen to protect me. But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official heard of my arrival, they were very displeased that someone had come to help the people of Israel.” – bible.com/116/neh.2.9-10.nlt
Notice it wasn’t at Nehemiah’s request that army officers and horsemen accompany him on his journey. The king sent them because Nehemiah didn’t know opposition was coming his way. Because he did what ordinary people don’t when facing the journey involved in answering his thirty-thousand-foot prayer, he prayed and with God’s hand upon him went on his way. There were two officials waiting on Nehemiah’s arrival in an effort to get in his way. Why? It seems they were displeased with someone coming to help the people of Israel, Nehemiah’s people.
On your journey you’ll run into trouble. Let me help you identify a few reasons why trouble comes when you’re on your mission. There will be people who don’t want to see you use your gift. They don’t want to see you escape “normal.” All “normal” people want you to remain in their company. They don’t want you to rock the boat. Let’s discuss four reasons why:
Ordinary people are jealous of people who aren’t ordinary. As soon as you reach the next level, one level beyond average, jealousy will arrive from places you’d never seen it before. The people you thought were for you, are no longer for you. They were okay with the average you, but the uncommon you, they want no parts of.
This reason is not the most obvious, but it’s one of the most common. Regular people will tend to be embarrassed when you do something they should have done. Here it is Nehemiah has journeyed from a distant land, left his job and his family behind to rebuild a city where the official had every opportunity if not more to do the same. There will be many around you that will feel embarrassed that you did something with your talents, and they did not.
When you enter a territory, field, career, industry that others are already a part and you begin to shine, you’ll be looked upon as an intruder. The Ammonite official saw Nehemiah as an intruder. The people in your life that see you using your gift will look at you as an intruder. They’ll say who do you think you are? What are you doing here? I remember being a part of a successful church plant in a community that had hundreds of churches already. The other churches looked at us like we were intruders. There’s no need for another church here was the word we received.
“Common” people hate change. Anytime the circumstances, situation, environment, even the temperature changes, ordinary folk become uneasy. They want things to remain the same even if it means living below their capabilities. With an uncommon person on an uncommon mission change happens often.
With any of these reasons, opposition will arise. There’s only four ways to eliminate human opposition: don’t do anything that creates jealousy, don’t embarrass the person who’s sitting on the sideline, don’t enter the territory where someone else has setup camp, and don’t be an agent of change in the world around you. You do these things and opposition will never be a problem and neither will becoming an uncommon individual. When you’re on the mission of your thirty-thousand-foot prayer, be aware that you’ll need to prepare for opposition because this is common for uncommon people.
Question: What are you doing that’s creating opposition?
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