Dangerous Prayers

Once a long time ago, Tony and I were members of a pretty exciting prayer group.  A lot of the things we experienced were amazing, and challenged a lot of our ideas and traditions. Looking back, I think that was some of most spiritually-growing times we have ever known.

Fast forward now to the present.  I’ve grown weary reading the Old Testament over and over in my ‘Read thru the Bible’ plan, so, even though I still find some parts great,  this year I decided to give the OT a rest and do some of the quick devotionals that are also listed in my phone’s Bible reading application.

Anyway, I picked a short devotional plan put together by a man named Craig Groschel. He’s a pastor, and recently Tony was privileged to hear speak, thanks to the generosity of our son.  Tony was so impressed by him that I picked one of his plans called “Dangerous Prayers”.

It’s good, but I confess that, as I read, I remembered those days from long ago. Because, you see, our group was having such growth and success, one day I decided to ask God to ‘show me my sin’.

I didn’t realize that was a ‘dangerous prayer’.

“Well, that prayer was a big mistake!” I thought, after waking up one morning from a very unsettling dream.  In the dream, I was being led thru a mansion, filled with every kind of beautiful accessory and most importantly, spacious and with sunny rooms after rooms that seemed to go on forever.

This “mansion”, as it turned out, belonged to the people who were living there as they led me through… And they were some missionary associates of ours.

Now the interesting and unsettling thing about the dream, and the reason I woke up with such a start was because, in the dream I was getting more and more angry!

I thought about it for days, wondering why on the earth I’d had such a silly dream. And then God let me in on why I was so mad.

This couple were childless first term missionaries.  They had not lived in Japan for 15 years already like we had.  They were brand new. And with their arrival, because of some logistical situations in the mission, they were given a brand new WESTERN style house.

Now mind you, after 15 years in a tiny Japanese house, with the kids tucked together in one room, the single toilet convenient only to the front door with the bathtub thoughtfully arranged off of the kitchen, we too were now living in a big spacious western style mission house.  Why would I be upset with them for having a ‘mansion’ when it was built to the same houseplan as mine?

Then the penny dropped.  I was angry (at least subconsciously) in my dream, because I felt they hadn’t ‘paid the price’.

And here you thought missionaries weren’t petty.

I repented and made a vow, after cleaning up my act, not to ever pray that ‘dangerous’ of a prayer again.

But then this last week, without even asking, God is showing me once again how foible I am.

Our book, “Weaving Sunlight” came out recently, as I’m sure you were aware of after my daughter’s lavish reveal!  And while talking about the book,  someone casually asked me if I had bothered to ask permission from the people I had so generously written about. Theirs was a difficult story, and even though it turned out okay, thinking about those days still brings us all pain.

So once again, I was laid open to my sin and I found myself eating humble pie as I (finally) wrote and apologized.

They were gracious and forgave me, even offering to edit the story, filling in some gaps where my aging memory had failed me!  If you order a Kindle copy, (out in a few weeks) the mistake will be corrected.

No, I’m not going to stop praying those “dangerous prayers”. But sometimes, it’s a little like putting alcohol on a fresh cut. You know it’s the right thing to do, and the safest thing, in the long run, but it’s probably gonna hurt!

I need to remember that God is my Great Physician, and He will not let the slightest scratch go untreated.

So here’s my challenge to all of us: get yourself alone for some quiet time, then take a deep breath, close your eyes and say, “Lord, show me my sin.”

In the words of that intrepid cartoon character, Dark Wing Duck, “Let’s get dangerous.”

Send me a report sometime if you make it back in one piece,

Marsha

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