Today I (Ed Stetzer) am glad to welcome Craig Groeschel to The Exchange. Craig is founding and senior pastor of Life.Church. Below we talk about his new book, Dangerous Prayers: Because Following Jesus Was Never Meant to Be Safe.
Ed: Talk to me about your latest book and what makes it so significant.
Craig: I’m incredibly passionate about this book because it’s really a reflection of the personal struggles I’ve had with my prayer life. I think there are many Christians who know they should pray, who want to have great faith when they pray, but often don’t.
We get easily distracted or we end up praying really safe, boring prayers, like, “God, bless my food and keep me safe today.” This book is born out of my own desire for more in my prayer life. Hopefully, I can help give people a pathway to fall more intimately in love with God by not praying safe, docile prayers, but instead having more of a daring, radical faith to believe in a God who says all things are possible through him.
Ed: You mentioned that as Christians we can often get stuck in a rut of praying safe prayers. Would you say that in reality no prayer should be safe?
Craig: I think prayer is inherently dangerous because we’re surrendering and submitting our desires to God. I wouldn’t ever say don’t pray for the safety of your kids. I think any loving parent would want their kids to be safe. I don’t think I’d ever say don’t pray that you have a good day, because I hope you do have a great day.
But if our prayers are only for parking spots and blessing food, we’re almost insulting our God who can do so much more.
When I look at some of the prayers in scripture, they’re much more dangerous. In one of the prayers we talk about in the Old Testament, David asked God and gave God permission to search him. That’s a dangerous prayer: search me God.
Then he prayed, “See if there is any offensive way in me.” In other words, if there is any part of me that is impure, unclean, unrighteous, displeasing to you, God, I give you permission to show it to me.
That’s not a prayer I was taught to pray growing up in Sunday School. That’s a dangerous prayer. That’s the kind of thing I’m talking about. “God, I give you permission, in fact, I invite you to do something more in me, to search my heart. I’ll bare my soul before you.” When I started praying that particular prayer, God started showing me more impurities in my own soul that He would help cleanse through that dangerous prayer.
Ed: Why do you think it’s so difficult for us to want to pray dangerous prayers?
Craig: I think ultimately what we want is for God to do what we want, and that’s why our prayers are safe: “God, bless me, protect me, help my kids grow up fine, help me win the lottery.”
Whatever it is, our safe prayers are asking God to do things that benefit me. These prayers aren’t saying, “God, you’re here to serve me.” They’re saying, “God, I’m here to serve you.”
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Source: Christianity Today