I didn’t come lookin’ for trouble and I don’t want to fight needlessly.
But I’m not gonna hide in a bubble if trouble comes for me.
I can feel my heart beating faster; I can tell something’s coming down.
But if it’s gonna make me grow stronger then… Bring it on!
Let the lightning flash, let the thunder roll, let the storm winds blow … Bring it on!
Let the trouble come, let the hard rain fall, let it make me strong …
Bring it on!
The words of this song written by one of my favorites, Stephen Curtis Chapman, seriously wreak havoc in my thoughts/mind! Brent said for a while that this was his favorite song! That absolutely “freaks me out.” 🙂 And now, years after he (SCC) wrote that song, his own life story has consisted of the worst kind of storm: the death of his child. The story (found here, as well as many other places on the web http://articles.cnn.com/2009-11-12/entertainment/steven.curtis.chapman_1_maria-black-hole-christian-music?_s=PM:SHOWBIZ
) is heartwrenching. When he wrote the words to that song several years ago, and I believe he meant every one of them, he had no idea what God would bring about in his life to “make him stronger.”
So …. that brings me to ME! I want to want to pray and mean “bring it on”. I want to want the Paul-kind of prayers prayed on my behalf and on behalf of those I love: “To this end also we pray for you always that our God may count you worthy of your calling and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power; in order that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Thess 1:11-12) This is only one example of many of his prayers that are very similar. As I’ve prayed through the prayers of Paul over the years, I’ve noticed that the theme of many present-day prayers is missing in his prayers. Paul never once prays “a hedge of protection” over his fellow believers. Not once!
A hedge of protection. I can’t even begin to count how many times I’ve heard this phrase used in prayers throughout my life. I searched and searched the Bible for it. A reference to it is found ONCE. In Job. Yep, that’s right. Job. But people pray it all the time for family members, for church leaders, for all believers. After doing a quick review of Job’s life, and contemplating all that occurred, I started wondering about this hedge of protection prayer. In Job 1, Satan accuses Job of serving God only because the LORD had placed a hedge around him, his peeps, and his stuff. Unknown to Job, God then uses him to make a point to Satan, and removes the hedge.
So I’m wondering about this particular phrase in prayer. I’ve decided, for one thing, based on the fact that it’s only referred to just this once means it’s probably way overused in Christian circles (prayer groups). Secondly, I’m not sure I even want the hedge if Satan is even more eager to BRING IT ON to prove I only worship God because He protects me from painful events. Just sayin’!
Let’s see … people pray for a hedge of protection around me and my family. Satan refuses to believe we will worship God without it. God removes it in order to bring glory to Himself. Whew! That would make for a rude awakening in our lives, would it not?!
Jesus does pray in John 17 for His followers/disciples to be protected from the evil one. But it seems to me His prayer is referring to us being protected from worldliness instigated by the evil one – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. Not a freedom from pain or harm. The prayer is all about eternity, unity and God’s glory. When Jesus gives an example of what to pray in the gospels, He never once mentions our comfort, or protection or a hedge. He says that we are to pray for God’s kingdom to come. For daily bread – just enough. For us to be forgiving people. For us not to be persuaded by temptation.
So where are the prayer for our comforts? Freedom from pain? Riches? Easy times? No hardships? I can’t find any. The prayers of Jesus and Paul are all about our spiritual maturity, God’s glory, and the salvation of the world.
Radical prayers for radical pray-ers: Bring it on. Whatever it takes for Your glory, God. Just daily bread – all I need. May we persevere through trials, Lord. Give us joy. Give us peace. Make us one. May we be filled with Your love and grace. May we walk by faith. May we walk in a manner worthy of You, Lord. Your kingdom come, Your will be done, God.
I don’t know if I’m always ready to receive God’s answers to the previous prayers. Often I even pray other prayers that are working against these prayers, although it’s unintentional. Lord, bless my children. Keep them safe. Help them not to face hard times. Don’t let them be lonely Lord. Give my husband good days. Help us all to be happy and have good paying jobs and good friends and people around us to love us. Provide for us all special things. Help our vacation to go well. Heal us all. No more rain please Lord. No more dark days.
I can’t necessarily say that these are bad prayers or wrong prayers. I am convinced, though, that they are not the kind of prayers of scripture. For example, how can God bring about perseverance in my life if He removes the trial I’m praying for Him to remove? So one prayer (my selfish prayer) is actually in opposition to the other prayer (God-glory prayer).
So I conclude how I started. I want to
want the Paul-kind of prayers prayed on my behalf and on behalf of those I love. I’ve followed closely the life of SCC since the most tragic event of his life occurred. He has stayed the course of faith. His testimony includes his days of crisis of faith, but all in all, he has remained steady and sure. If he knew then what he knows now, would he still be able to sing the words “bring it on”.
I don’t know him personally, but I believe he would. As hard as it is, I believe at least he would want to want to.
Give me more courage in my praying Lord. And give me faith that You are good.