Prayer for the Brave

braveHelp us to be brave, Lord.

Because You know us.  The deep-down-real us.  You know how Your grace has already brought us far from where we used to be.  You know how Your love picked us up when it felt like nothing could help us, when every hope proved false and every answer fell through.  You know how Your grace brought us into Your presence, how Your mercy forgave what we could not overcome alone.

And so You know how we want to follow You ~ wholly, without hesitation, with everything.  We long ~ maybe in the quiet moments or maybe in every moment ~ to give over all of our lives for Your purpose.  We wonder what it would be like to follow in the way the disciples followed.  Theirs was a minute-by-minute journey.  You moved and they followed.  You spoke and they listened.  You led the way, and without any guarantee of what might happen or where they’d end up, they walked with You.

But, Lord, You also know how fear tries to grow rampant in our lives.  We are so often like Peter, eagerly running towards You… but knowing how the waves around us are wild and unpredictable, we change our minds.  We want to retreat, to run backwards, to hide in the steady security of the boat we know so well.

What we forget is how You stretched out Your hand, immediately, and caught him when he faltered.  Even though his faith failed, You didn’t.  You picked him up and set him on course again.  Even knowing that he would sink again, You pursued his heart.

Because You also knew that, one day, he would be inundated by Your Spirit.  You knew that, in the fullness of Your presence, Peter would become the man You created him to be: a shepherd for Your people, a voice and a testimony to turn the world upside-down in Your name and power.

Here’s what I know: this is Your promise for us, too. “We all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)  As we follow You, we change to become more like You.  We become the men and women You created us to be… which is what we yearn for ~ to have every part of our lives redeemed, not one piece of us separated from You.

And yet we hesitate.  We know the transforming, ever-creative, bigger-than-us ways of Your Spirit.  Sometimes, we fear letting go of what-has-been. Sometimes, we are afraid to let go of who we think we are supposed to be.  Sometimes, we forget that when You lead our lives into the Unknown, our only guarantee is You… and that certainty of You is enough.

So when we feel You call ~ but there is no road-map or itinerary in sight ~ Lord, we pray like a father prayed long ago: “we believe; help our unbelief!” (Mark 9:24)

We don’t know what the next step looks like.  We don’t know what this new season or place or mission will look like… but we know that Your thoughts toward us are good, to give us a hope and a future.  (Jeremiah 29:11)  We know that You promised to never leave us or forsake us. (Heb. 13:5)  We know that You told us our needs would be met, our lives safe in Your hands.

Let our knowledge become our action and our reality, the deep-down roots of Your unshakable Kingdom in our hearts.

Let us live Your truth! Let us speak and sing and sink into Your Word, soaking in Your living water until the only seeds that grow are of faith and bold belief in Your promises and provision.

We know it won’t be easy.  We know there is a cost and a cross we all will carry.

But You carried it all first… and Your arms steady ours as we build Your kingdom.

“Therefore, we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

Yes, You are our one guarantee ~ our Life, our Love, our Peace, the desire of our hearts ~ help us to be brave enough to believe this, Lord, to take You at Your Word and to find that You are true.  Help us to understand in our very bones, in every bit of our being ~ You are faithful.  If we never leave our known places, if we never yield to Your Spirit, if we never move to follow ~ we will never know how present and how trust-worthy You are.  Help us to take those first steps and to find You there; Your strength filling the void of our weakness, Your power lighting up what we have been given until it shines brighter than we ever could have hoped for… for Your glory, for Your honor, for Your praise.

Lord, we want to wear Your name. Not ours.  For only by Your name can people in this world of ours be set free… be healed… be rescued from their sin.  Only in Your name is there Hope.

Help us to press forward, to leave behind the old habits and securities, the knowing-what-to-expect in favor of expecting You as we obey.  It is life-shaking to give up our control.  But it is also life-giving ~ for “the old is gone”, but “the new is here!”
(2 Corinthians 5:17)

You are the better-than-we-can-dream, the strength of our hearts, the portion we have been freely given, the hand that reaches out to catch us when we fail.

Lord, help us to be brave as we put our trust in You… help us, as we follow, to steady our vision… to look only at You.

“Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” ~ Hebrews 12:1-2

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