Prayer: Shameless Audacity
What words would you use to describe your prayer life? Consistent? Focused? Dutiful? Boring? Life changing? Intimate? Sweet?
There are so many descriptive words that define our prayer lives from different seasons in life. But I would have never defined my prayer life as Jesus defined it in the passage below!
[11:1] Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”  And he said to them, “When you pray, say:
“Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
 Give us each day our daily bread,
 and forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation.”
 And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves,  for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’;  and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’?  I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs.  And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.  What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent;  or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?  If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
We have covered prayer in other blog posts (and even one post in the "Synergy" category from this same passage) - but while reading this passage today, I was struck by the word "impudence." That's the main point of the parable that Jesus tells to illustrate to His disciples how they should pray. He tells them to pray with impudence.
I'm not the smartest guy, so I had to look up the verse in several different versions to get a better idea of what impudence means. Here's a list of how that word is translated:
"shameless audacity" (NIV)
"shameless persistence and insistence" (Amp)
"keep knocking long enough" (NLT)
"not ashamed to keep asking" (CEV)
Do any of these words describe your prayer life?! Mine either:) But it may just change your attitude in prayer, like it did mine! God honors a bold faith that believes that what is being asked for is as good as done! And when the answer from God is slow, that person is bold and persistent.
I've told this story a couple of times in different places, but it is still such a powerful lesson to me:
A family that we love awoke one Sunday morning to find workmen and their wealthy neighbor in the creek with heavy equipment digging up their property and placing it on his side of the creek. He had asked them a few times if he could do this, but they resisted for many reasons. He went forward with his plans, obviously not deterred by the legal issue of stealing property and moving boundaries to suit his own needs. They brought this up to me one day as a prayer request. I was outraged and infuriated that this wealthy man would steal their property! I began searching the scriptures for instances of "moving an ancient boundary." God takes this very seriously. I compiled the verses and began praying daily for the man - that God would take notice of his injustice against my friends. I prayed fervently and daily for over a year. At the end of two years, I asked my friend how his neighbor was doing, mentioning that I still pray for him regularly. Eric was surprised and asked if I had heard what happened to him. He told me that a year and a half ago, his wife divorced him. Then six months later his business failed. Then a few months later his health began to fail. Then a few months later he was bankrupt and had to sell everything. Then he had to sell his home and land. And then a few weeks later the man took his own life in the house that he had sold! I was completely shocked and immediately felt responsible.
What? Why did I feel responsible?
I know, it's crazy, but I immediately felt guilty - as though I had caused his demise. All I had done was pray fervently, persistently, boldly, shamelessly and audaciously for the guy. I think you see the connection. I felt responsible because I had prayed so hard. When was the last time you felt responsible for something because you prayed so hard? This was a first for me, but it was a valuable lesson in consistent, faith-filled, persistent, bold, audacious prayer. Sometimes we expect too much out of one prayer, and not enough out of consistent and bold prayer.
Change your prayer life today. Include "shameless audacity" to your list of descriptive words.