Pray Boldly, Trust Courageously

Willow Creek | June 28, 2021

This past weekend, Ed Ollie Jr. concluded Courage Calling: Lessons from Joshua with a message called “Courage to Pray Big Prayers.” Throughout his message, Ed hit home this key point: the courage of my prayers reveals God’s position in my life. The stronger our relationship with God and the more trust we have in Him, the deeper and bolder our prayers can be. 


It can be hard to pray bold prayers, can’t it, even if we attend church regularly, pray often, and include God in most aspects of our lives? Our life experiences have made us cynical; we’ve seen prayers answered in different ways than we would have liked: loved ones passed, addictions raged on, and children remained astray. 


It’s easy to find the darkness, but what about the light? We might feel some of our prayers hit the ceiling and bounce back, but what about the times God did more than we could ever even ask? Who was given a death sentence but was healed? Who had been an addict for thirty years then found sobriety? What prodigals have returned home to their parent’s open arms? Those stories are there–through church members, friends, or maybe in our own families. Our God is still a God of miracles and He’s ready to do more. Do we have the courage to ask for it?


In Mark 11:24, Jesus says, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” When we pray, we must believe. When we pray for healing, we must see the healing. When we pray for sobriety, we must picture what it can look like. When we pray for our children to come home, let’s set a spot at the table. 


When we pray boldly, we’re calling on the awesome power of God, the same God who sent the plagues, raised the dead, and conquered all Evil. He’s still in the miracle business. Trust in Him, remember what He’s already done, see the victory, then pray boldly. We’re not just praying for a quick recovery; we’re praying when the doctors go in to remove the tumor, they’ll find the tumor already gone. We’re not praying our friend or family member gets into recovery; we’re praying their craving for drugs or alcohol miraculously disappears. We’re not praying for our astray children to come home “someday;” we’re praying our children join us on the 4th of July and that we can celebrate having them home with us. 


Let’s pray boldly. Let’s pray bravely. Let’s pray like God has done miracles before and that He can do them again. 


And when our bold prayers aren’t answered, even after believing and hoping, let’s remember what Jesus taught the masses to pray in Matthew 6:10: “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” When we pray boldly, let’s also trust boldly. Our God has a plan, and we don’t know what it is, but we know we can trust Him, because He’s never failed us. We believe He can do all things, we believe He can satisfy every need and heal every heart, and that’s why we pray boldly, but we also trust in His plan, to where if our prayers aren’t answered the way we would like, that won’t hinder us from praying boldly again and again and again. “May Your will be done–not mine;” only the deepest trust on earth can add those words to the end of a prayer. 


Friends, let’s be courageous enough to ask for the unthinkable, believe in the unfathomable, and trust in the redemptive plan of El Shaddai–our Lord God Almighty.