Are your prayers mild or wild?
I was pondering this question for myself today. Am I wild or mild in my prayers?
Do you know that one definition of the word mild, according to webster.com, is not being extreme? It can also mean gentle in nature or moderate in action. To be wild is to be not subject to restraint or regulation. It can also mean to go beyond normal or conventional bounds and to be passionately eager or enthusiastic.
I want to have a wild prayer life. I do not want to be subject to regulations or restraints. I want to be beyond the conventional, eager to pray and enthusiastic to hit my knees & lift my hands up. The more that I grow in prayer, the more I long for a richer prayer life. I want to have wild, detailed and specific prayers. I want to be used by God in ways that point to Him like a giant flashing LED video screen. I hope to pray expecting God to answer in a great way.
I had a wonderful conversation about this with my daughter. I asked her, are your prayers mild or wild? Her first response to it was, “Mom, I don’t even know what that means.” Perhaps you are in the same spot as my daughter. Whenever I am teaching her, I find examples help out tremendously. So I asked her to listen to these two prayers.
#1 – God, please be with me. Please bless me. Please protect me. In Jesus’ name, amen.
#2 – Treasured and Amazing Lord, My God who parted dark from light. Open my eyes to take in more of Your grace, mercy and love. Help me to seek Your truths that I may refresh my mind and heart in You. Lord, may the relationships within our home be strengthened by Your love for us. May we live in such a way, overcoming the odds of the world, that we may bring glory to You by being a family that does our best to walk in Your will for our lives. Give us the boldness to follow the Spirit’s leading and the faith to step out when You call us. Help us to worship You, even when we do not feel like it, but may we make it more about You and less about us. In Your Holy Name, amen.
Which one is mild and which one is wild? My daughter said it was the second. I agree. But this still seems pretty tame compared to some of the prayers recorded in the Bible. Check out some of these wild prayers.
“On the day the Lord gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the Lord in the presence of Israel: ‘O sun, stand still over Gibeon, O moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.” Joshua 10:12 (NIV). Joshua prayed that the sun would stand still. Verse 13 says, “So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies.”
“And Elisha prayed, ‘O Lord, open his eyes so that he may see.’ Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, ‘Strike these people with blindness.’ So he struck them with blindness as Elisha had asked.” 2 Kings 6:17-18 (NIV)
“Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, ‘Tabitha, get up.’ She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up.” Acts 9:40 (NIV)
These are just a couple of the numerous wild prayers in the Bible. I am amazed by them.
Do you know what these wild pray-ers had in common? These were not the first prayers that they prayed.
Honestly my initial prayers were probably not very wild. In fact they were probably more mild than the example that I gave to my daughter. Do you know what? That is just fine. We are not born with the ability to run marathons. If you are like me, we are still am not at that level of mobility. But I can walk and I get out a good jog every now and again.
We learn how to pray with experience over time. We do not just sit down one day and have it all figured out. Even with much practice we can still feel like we do not have a clue what to pray. Remember the Spirit is praying for us with groans we can’t even understand.
Here’s what I do know about prayer. When I pray regularly, it changes me. It changes my view of who God is by bringing me into greater of awe of how big, how awesome, how powerful and how majestic God is. Do I understand Him more? Probably not, many times I think I understand Him less. More and more I realize how little I have and just how much God has. I also have a wider view of how blessed God really has made me.
Understand Him or not, I definitely trust Him more. I think that growth of trust in Him, that awe of how big He really is, has helped my prayers become wilder and richer. I have experienced such great joy in praying wild prayers.
Sometimes these prayers are answered. Sometimes it seems as if the answer is no. I bet there are a bunch where the timing has just been off. I do not have a clue how many of my wilder prayers will have an answer arrive in the future. I really can not tell you much about the answering side of things because that’s God’s department. I wish I had a great formula for making sure that I am always praying in God’s will. I really don’t, I pray selfish prayers all the time.
As I absorb more of the Bible and as I practice praying over and over again, I know it changes me. I know that it brings me joy and hope and peace. What I really desire is that over time, my prayers would become wilder. That I might not be subject to regulation or restraint, that I would pray beyond convention and that I would be passionate & enthusiastic about praying.
So today, may we challenge ourselves, even in one small sentence, to pray a wilder prayer than we did yesterday.
Amazing God who placed the stars in the sky,
Please help us to trust You more through being brought into awe of Your greatness and power and might. Help us to step out of our comfort zones, and to reach for something that we formerly thought was unreachable. Help us to be wild with our prayers. Lord, You know what that means to each of us individually, so please help us to move in that direction.
Please renew, refresh and restore us through prayer. Grow us and help us to be in Your will for our lives. Lord, when these words are seen by eyes please help them to soak into hearts so that they may be encouraged. Please help us all to live out our lives to the glory of Your name, amen.