How Can You Return the Same Way You Left?
Unable to Return the Way You Left – Part 1
So I needed an answer to the question of how does one return after experiencing a thirty-thousand-foot answered prayer? How does one re-enter normal? Let’s think about it for a minute using a few examples of big prayers:
- You purchased the home you never thought you’d ever be able to own. You paid off your home when all the financial odds were against you. You got married when it looked like you’d been aged out.
- You got the promotions others deserved without the degree. You started that new business when other businesses around you failed.
- You succeeded after leaving a corporate career to work in the non-profit sector. You started your ministry when others were closing their doors for good.
- You won the election to the local government office as the newcomer. You led a campaign to improve your community and achieved your goal.
- You and your spouse healed your relationship. You brought restoration to your family that was divided. Your family member recovered from a life-threatening or life-altering medical condition, illness, sickness, or injury.
Think of these scenarios as answers to someone’s biggest prayers. Now place yourself in one of the situations you can most associate with and ask yourself how much work did it take to get to this result? Each one of these wasn’t a prayer in which the results just happened without any effort on your part. Ask yourself what challenges and hurdles did you have to overcome? Ask yourself how much time it took to get here? Lastly ask yourself how much did you have to change during the journey?
Nehemiah said for 12 years he governed Judah  as a result of his thirty-thousand-foot prayer. After seeing his prayer answered, it was time to return home. He’d received the answer to the prayer he prayed. Like I asked you to do above in the scenarios listed, place yourself in Nehemiah’s shoes. You’re headed back home to be the king’s cup-bearer after having been the governor of Judah for over a decade. I’m certain Nehemiah had to ask, will I really return to being a cup-bearer? And his reply must have been, I must return. For it was the king who afforded me the opportunity for greatness in the first place.
You see, a thirty-thousand-foot prayer is a never-ending journey. Nehemiah thought that his return to his old job was also a return to his old way of life, but there’s just one problem. Nehemiah had changed. His prayer changed him. More importantly, your prayer will change you.
Nehemiah is no longer suitable for cupbearer, but governor of Judah.
You are recognized as different by all those who know you.
I’d like to take a moment to talk about change. The first change that caught my attention is that Nehemiah had been gone for 12 years. He no longer looked the same. You know in 12 years you grow 12 years older. Take a look at your photos and see that you’ve changed and it doesn’t mean the change is bad or you look old. You’ve just changed in appearance. Maybe it’s your clothing, how you wear your hair, the fullness of your face, etc. You’ve developed personally and have improved in skills. You’ve become more experienced. The point is you’ve changed and those who know you, know it.
You can return to reality, but reality can’t return to you.
How do you prepare for the return to reality? Since change is a byproduct of your prayer, how does one return to reality or normal? For Nehemiah, his return to normal was returning to be the king’s cup-bearer. Let’s walk through this a little further and see three important discoveries that come with completing a thirty-thousand-foot prayer.
- Being uncommon means you’ve accomplished what is not normal.
Know that you’ve accomplished the task, a big task, an uncommon task. When you complete the work of a thirty-thousand-foot prayer, you’ve accomplished something great, something worthwhile. No one can take that from you. Celebrate the fact that the work is done, the impossible was made possible, and the prayer answered.
- You must consider the fact that you don’t own what God owns.
If you’ll recall, you never planned on or intended on doing the work of a thirty-thousand-foot prayer. The prayer you prayed led to the work, the work you never considered you’d have to do yourself. Therefore, where God took you was a place you never had plans on going. Because it was never something you thought of or imagined doing, it must have been something God owned, had planned, and wanted accomplished through you. Therefore, when He moves you beyond this answered prayer, He takes you elsewhere. In other words, what you owned you left behind for what He owns. Now do it again.
Nehemiah had to take steps that seemed like they were backwards, but where else did he expect it would lead? He was a cup-bearer and would have still been a cup-bearer had it not been for his thirty-thousand-foot prayer. Nehemiah never prayed for himself to be the one to build a wall, nor to lead a group of people, nor to rebuild his home city.
- You must be ready for the unexpected.
This is the good part. I led into this with the question of how does one return to reality or normal. The truth is you can’t. Once you’ve completed a thirty-thousand-foot prayer, you can’t return to normal. Prayer is not normal, not for the normal, nor does it produce normal results. You can try to return to normal, but at this point you’re well beyond normal. You’ve experienced some things that have taken you well beyond normal, average, and what’s reality.
Nehemiah returned but it didn’t take long for those around him, even the king, to figure out that he no longer fit in as a cup-bearer. When you become uncommon, you no longer fit in with what’s common. You’ll stand out each time. That’s what it means to be extraordinary. That’s what it means to have your thirty-thousand-foot prayer answered.
All of this is important to know when coming away from a thirty-thousand-foot prayer that’s been answered. Let’s briefly review. It can feel like there’s no place for a celebration. You’re still working beyond the answered prayer, but you must take time to celebrate; you’ve accomplished what no other person could. Because it was never your intent to participate, you’ll feel like you can return to your old way of living, like normal, but you can’t. And lastly there’s something that happened to you that has not happened to the people you left behind or who didn’t participate in the work of your prayer. They remained ordinary, but you stepped over into something more, extra-ordinary. That’s what I mean when I say you won’t ever return to your original state.