Saturday, June 07, 2008

I Will Show You

Genesis 11v31 - 12v4

Sunday begins the event: OnePrayer!

Over 1300 churches are joining together under the banner of OnePrayer - Craig Groeschel and others are spearheading this movement of bringing churches together to pray. I'm all for joining other churches in Gospelwork, and I think prayer is a pretty good idea also.

The four-week series centers on this one prayer: Lord, make us...

Each church - starting this Sunday, will inspire their congregation around their one prayer. For Anchor, our one prayer is: Lord, make us courageous.

It seems to me that most people I know - especially the ones going through difficult times (pick an issue...), they know what the right thing to do is, but they are afraid to do it (or afraid to ask for help...). Somehow it is easier to keep doing the familiar things that contribute to the problem, than do the next right thing that would move them towards grace and peace.

I came across this ancient Irish prayer the other day:
Lord, make us keen to discern your will,
make us wise to understand it,
and grant us courage to follow it wherever it leads.

Reading the ancient - Irish prayer, I thought of Abraham. Specifically when God called him out of Haran to Canaan. Lots of interesting nuggets about the story, but a few that are pertinent to our one prayer: Abraham had never heard God's voice before, Abraham was totally ignorant of God, of even his name. But the text says that upon hearing God's promise, Abraham went.

Here's the thing: God promised the very thing that Abraham wanted more than anything. Abraham had left Ur for Canaan with his father Terah many years ago, but they stopped halfway and settled in Haran. Settling wasn't a long-term option for Abraham. So when God gave permission to Abraham to complete his journey, Abraham was delighted.

The courageous action on Abraham's part was not that he left Haran for Canaan. Lots of people did that - merchants, soldiers, refugees, etc. The courageous part was Abraham's reliance on God. The key to God's promise was this: " the land I will show you." It was if God was co-opting Abraham's dream, as if God was saying - "I need you Abraham, I need you and your dreams/desires. Let me lead you into the future, let me lead you into getting what you want more than anything." A God he did not know or understand gives him permission to fulfill his dream...and he trusts that God! Amazing.

Lord, make us courageous like Abraham...willing to follow you to the land you will show us. Grant us the courage to trust your ways, the courage to leave behind a settled life for a blessed life, the courage to become your blessing to the world.

C.S. Lewis points out in his famous sermon The Weight of Glory that far too many people have desires that are too weak; they settle for a safe, predictable life when they could've entered into a blessed life that pours out grace and peace into their neighborhoods.

What fears keep you from having that necessary conversation with your spouse? What fear keeps you from engaging your children? Your parents? What fear keeps you from standing up to your boss? What fear keeps you from using your God-given talents and gifts to bless others? What fear keeps you from trusting? What fear keeps you from following God's way?

Abraham went - he overcame his fear to follow the Way of the LORD, and it made all the difference. Stop taking the well-traveled road of fear, take the path less travelled - courage will make all the difference.

Lord, make us follow your Way wherever it leads.

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