Have you ever been on an epic adventure?
One of those journeys where the route was uncertain, the cost was high, and there was a newfound freedom that begged you to reach beyond yourself like never before. You might even remember the taste and smell of that moment where you were so present that you couldn’t imagine being anywhere else.
One of those feelings, relationships, or seasons that sounded like Eddie Vedder's soundtrack for Into the Wild...a great unknown with great possibility….Cue the music…
Maybe even, that adventure was the season when you started following Jesus, or a time in your life when you really believed God heard your prayers? You felt a willingness to throw caution to the wind, stopped keeping score, and simply got out there to dream and watch God move.
In your heart. In your life. In your relationships. In your city.
So what happened? Is there a reason we think of that adventure in the past-tense?
In chapter 11 of the book of Luke, Jesus’ disciples approached him while he was praying. One of them asked Him ““Lord, teach us to pray"...and "He said to them, “When you pray, say”:
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation.’
Jesus provided them with a form for how to keep communicating with Him when he was gone. His prayer was simple and has become familiar and helpful to most of us. But too often our prayers stop there. We simply repeat what the creator taught us, instead of living into his invitation to be co-creators who keep walking and talking closely with Him in all sorts of ways. We follow the script, but don’t let it shape us as followers of Jesus.
But that’s not the end of Jesus’ answer to their question. Next comes a "classic Jesus" moment. His method of prayer took on flesh. He told a story about how we should pray with “shameless audacity”. No really, that's what it actually says. Check this out from Luke 11: 1-13:
‘Then Jesus said to them, ‘suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, “friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ And suppose one inside answers, ‘don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you; even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need. So I say to you; Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Jesus tells them a story about a guy who has a friend coming into town, and nothing to offer that friend when he arrives. To His audience, it would have been disgraceful and shaming to be inhospitable to your guests. So the host thought fast and went to his neighbor at midnight to beg for bread. The neighbor initially refused but because of his fervor, persistence, and willingness to “ask, seek, and knock”, the door was opened. He found a way to be heard, and the neighbor graciously provided his needs for loving others. This neighbor, “though he was evil” was willing to give a good gift to a person in need. And yet, the scripture tells us that our loving father in heaven is willing to give us the Holy Spirit; if we simply ask.
What a perfect story for Jesus to tell about how he is inviting us to connect with him through prayer!
This late night doorbell ringer is the epitome of shameless audacity and whom we want to be just like as a church community. We want to be courageous in our prayer requests. We want to come to God when we have nothing to offer. We want to ask, seek, and knock to ask God to work through us as loving hosts to those we get to serve in Seattle.
As a forming church community, we are discovering that a most central part of our identity is our passion for prayer. We struggle like everyone does to stop and have conversations with our creator. Yet, we believe that God wants us to ask for the unreasonable, believe for the incredible, and to be loving hosts who give to our community in any way God is calling us to. That we are called to be a community where people experience the love and grace of Jesus through praying with others.
This coming Wednesday at 6:30PM, we are going to host a prayer walk on Queen Anne. We are going to pray for the neighborhood, our city, and all that God is doing in and thorough both. Our friend Katie recently shared this beautiful picture of how we can pray with “shameless audacity”. She asked: “what if we prayed that it could look like this In Seattle As it in Heaven?”:
- The saints are in perfect unity
- Christ is in his rightful place
- Worship is pure, free, and abundant
- No one has any needs
- Everyone loves his or her neighbor
- Everyone knows and is perfectly known
- There is wholeness, and no sickness of the body mind or soul
- There is JOY: boundless and endless
- There is infinite hope
- The truth is everywhere and the light has fully extinguished all lies, all doubt, all evil
- Instead of poverty there is limitless supply
- Instead of striving there is rest
- Each one works according to the perfect creation of their frame
- And each one’s work is fulfilling and useful to every other
- Instead of envy, covetousness and rivalry, there is deep familial affection, a celebration of his perfect work in each person
- There is no idolatry, only perfect worship
- There is no temptation or failing, only victory in Him
- Instead of selfishness there is joyful endless giving
- Instead of grumbling and complaining there is gratitude at all times in the hearts of every saint
- That we would deeply know that “It is Finished” in Jesus and that we have His Holy Spirit to help us navigate everything we face.
Can you imagine what might happen if we prayed with that kind of shameless audacity?
We hope to see you there on Wednesday night, and are excited to pray with you in the days, months, and years ahead!
In His love and Grace,
A Seattle Church