Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Have you Prayed for an Elephant lately?

Praying for Your Elephant: Boldly Approaching Jesus with Radical and Audacious Prayer

Would you ever consider praying for an elephant? 
(The real, tusk and wrinkle kind?) 
That sounds like a joke deserving a punchline... "I would, if I knew about an elephant who was sick." 

Adam Stadtmiller once prayed for an elephant. Many months later and many miles away, Adam got his elephant. The gift came in unexpected packaging, long after he had forgotten that he even asked for it. 
And it had "With Love, From God" written all over it. 

Now what if you thought about your big, bold prayers as elephants.
Elephant Prayers- Something so crazy that only God could do it, and so dear to you that you're afraid to ask for it?

I love seeing how God answers prayers. It's one of the most beautiful things to contemplate- how despite all logic, despite the appearance of a situation, despite our fears and to the shock of all naysayers- God puts people and places and things together in a pattern of blessing and goodness. 
God's heart never ignores the voice of His children. That is for sure.

Yet... books on prayer often leave me edgy. 
I'm so afraid that we will come away believing that God-answering-prayers means "God delivering requests."

And I'm not talking about selfish demands either, I'm talking about real cries. 
People prayed for my Grandmother's cancer for two years. They "declared" her healing.
She passed away, peacefully, in a hospice bed. Her death was not what any of us wanted. 
On one hand, it was the worst thing that could happen. On the other, it was the best gift she ever gave me- I watched her depart this world for the presence of God. 

He answered our prayers with His kindness- we could all feel it in the room. 
But it wasn't the gift we had thought we wanted. 
So, for me, a book on prayer has to be very special. 
It has to hold the tension between God's big, blessing love- ask your Father for anything- and His promise that even when life is unexpected and the resolutions are unwanted- His presence is our gift. 

I really liked this book. 

There's a section where Adam says that feelings of guilt should never stifle our prayers- excellent point.
Once we belong to Jesus, we get to pray boldly no matter how messy we are.  

In one chapter, Adam describes how he always prayed with his wife as they drove a certain piece of highway, and how now that highway is a part of his spiritual territory. When he's driving there, praying comes too.
Then he suggests that we all stake a claim on a praying place of our own. 
When I think about it, I have a place or two like that.
In another spot, he described prayer as evangelism- and he's not talking about shouting for repentance on a street corners. He has a friend he runs with, who wasn't yet a Christian. Adam would talk about things he was praying for, and then he'd share how God answered the prayers. The friend got curious. He started asking Adam to pray for him. Then he wanted to know this God who draws near and answers prayers. 
This made me want to be an Asking Prayer Person for my own people.

Best of all, I liked Adam's wisdom about Dream Elephants. 
Dreams are the most delicate, dangerous elephants of all. We have them in our hearts. 
We want to ask for them in our lives. 
The question is... do we realize that we already have the most wondrous Dream of all?
God become Man, dead for our sins, Alive for all time, here with us in everything.
When that is our greatest Dream, then all the others that we cherish can be prayed for, hoped for, and appropriately appreciated. 

I'm grateful to David C Cook for my review copy.  Thank you!!! 

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