Wouldn’t it be nice if you could get an “inside track” on prayer? What if you and I could learn to pray in such a way that we could be absolutely, take-it-to-the-bank sure that God was going to say yes to our requests, every single time?
What if that’s not a what if? What if it’s the God-honest truth that you can bank on every time? Because it is. What I’m about to share with you could quite possibly become the most exciting lesson on prayer you’ll ever digest.
Let me give it to you straight: There are prayers in the Bible that God is going to answer with a resounding YES! every single time. Prayers you can pray with the same confidence and the same RESULTS as the superheroes of our faith. Does that sound presumptuous to you? Flaky? Prideful? Naive? Stupid? Well, just hang on a few more minutes, and I think I can change your mind. Let’s start with one of those life-changing prayers. The first one is found in Ephesians 1:17-21:
“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe…”
Stellar prayer, but how can I say God will answer it every time with a yes? For one, this isn’t a situational prayer to repeat, like when Peter resurrected Dorcas in the book of Acts. Second, the Spirit of God inspired Paul to record it, which means the prayer comes from God’s heart and is equally applicable to us as it was to the Ephesians. And prayers that God prompts us to pray are prayers God is planning on answering. He’s like a mom who just baked chocolate chip cookies who’s dying to give her kids a handful of hot chewy goodness but says, “First, say please….”
What I’m saying is that this prayer is God’s “winkwink-nodnod… I dare you to pray this prayer or ones like it.” Not that regurgitating prayers verbatim is the key. The key is God saying, “Ask me for this” and us saying, “Sure, if you say so.”
Sometimes Shauna and I pull our hair out because our kids ask us such difficult things: “Can my friend come over and live with us forever? And then come to church with us on Sunday? Huh? Huh?” Shauna has developed a sweet response to those days when the “impossible or unlikely” requests are flowing fast: “Ask me something I can say yes to.”
Notice: This prayer isn’t about “fixing” anything. It’s not about getting a raise, a Ferrari, or a particular girlfriend. It’s not about a miraculous healing, a transformed relationship, or a better sermon from your pastor on Sunday. It’s about a revelation of God himself. It’s saying, “God, would you please reveal yourself to me?”
The answer is always a resounding “Yes, I’d love nothing more.” “Revelation” comes from a root word that means “to uncover,” like a lid on a jar. What a great thought: One of the reasons I’m not experiencing more of God is because of the lid on my jar, and God wants to take it off, blow my mind, show himself bigger than the slough of grey matter currently sloshing around in my brain.
And then, illuminate me. Turn the lights on the things I haven’t seen clearly enough: the glory of my heavenly home, the reality of God’s inheritance in the saints (read that again, it’s about HIS inheritance, not ours, and it says that his inheritance is ME and YOU). And turn the lights on about his power, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead and is now available to us.
Now back to the raise, the Ferrari, the girlfriend, the healing, the broken relationship, the boring preacher. It’s not that you shouldn’t ask God specific things. You should. But what would happen if God ignored all those requests and answered Paul’s prayer for you instead:
The lid of your understanding of God is blown clear off, and you get to know Jesus more deeply than ever before. The reality of heaven and what awaits you crashes in on you and leaves you reeling with joy and hope. You grasp for the very first time that what you do with your life becomes the inheritance God receives at the end of the Epic Story. You take hold of God’s resurrection power and are better able to put it to work in cooperation with God’s Spirit.
You might even forget about your other requests, huh? Your focus will have moved from your needs to his promise. I’m telling you, memorize this prayer and pray it regularly. I can assure you on the authority of God’s word that God is literally jumping up and down with excitement waiting to pour out the answer.