Often, when we ask someone for help and initially they do not want to be inconvenienced, they ultimately give as much as we need because of our shameless audacity. In Luke 11:8, Jesus gives an illustration about the Father’s heart and the power of prayer: “Because of his persistence, he will get up and give him as much as he needs.”
An odd reality in our faith journey is we need not be polite with God. The Lord shows interest when we have enough confidence in our relationship to argue or ask for the impossible.
Mark Batterson tells of a missionary whose church only had the shade of a single tree near the village until the local witch doctor cursed the tree and it withered. The church didn’t merely lose its shade, but was also overshadowed by a curse. This demonstration of power by the witch doctor would undermine the missionary’s message of an all-powerful, loving God. So, the missionary called a prayer meeting, confronted the curse, and called down a blessing on the tree. He literally laid hands on the tree and prayed that God would resurrect it.
Talk about shameless audacity! If God didn’t answer the prayer, his ministry was basically over. Besides, who was he to dare demonic forces to a duel and ask for something so unscientific?
That is the risk of prayer. However, the greatest tragedy in life is the prayers that go unanswered because they go unasked. “You do not have because you do not ask” (James 4:2). One thing is certain: God will not answer 100% of the prayers we do not pray.
There is an old adage: “Desperate times call for desperate measures.” Every prayer is a calculated risk, but sometimes we have to ante up our faith. That’s what the missionary did, adding to his prayer the tagline, “It’s not my name at stake.” The fact is if we are not willing to risk our reputation, we’ll never establish God’s reputation—the God of the impossible.
The miracle the missionary and church saw was not only the tree resurrected, but it became the only tree of its type to yield fruit twice a year. A double blessing!
God is not offended by prayers for the impossible. He’s offended by anything less.