Of B.H.A.P.s and Foundations
God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! – The Message paraphrase Ephesians 3:20a
“So Dan, what are B.H.A.P.s you’ve been praying?” That question, from a mentor, was the doorway into a really important conversation. B.H.A.P.s are Big, Hairy Audacious Prayers which I didn’t know until that conversation continued. Once that was explained to me, I was not less stumped by the query. Instead, I was brought face to face with an uncomfortable reality about my prayer life. I didn’t pray big prayers, let alone hairy and audacious ones. I had settled instead for more medium or small requests which felt far more reasonable and honestly “realize-able.” Ouch. That reality hurt. But, wounds from a friend can be trusted and this conversation was not aimed at making me feel like a failure. Rather, my mentor was trying to help me see my prayer anemia and learn a better way to pray.
Now, before we go much farther it is critical that we have the same understanding regarding the sort of requests that are B.H.A.P.s. And it might be just as effective to begin from the negative. What I don’t mean is to pray for $1 million or a yacht. That would still be small praying, simply in a far more self-centered mode. To pray big prayers effectively, we must take a page from Paul’s prayer playbook. In Ephesians 3:14-21 he demonstrates an incredibly big, hairy, audacious, prayer. The sort that only reinforce the poverty of my all too often, “If you just could be with…” mode of asking God for His intervention. The critical difference is that Paul understood the foundation from which he was praying. You want to build a skyscraper prayer life? You’ve got to go deep first. Deep into who you are in Christ. Deep into, of Whom, you are making the request. Bedrock deep. When you really get a hold of who God is (or maybe better when it really gets a hold of you) and your relationship to Him, then you have not only the ability to pray bigger but also better prayers. Meaning, you can begin to ask for big things but also the right things. $1 million may or may not be what God wants for you. Strength in your inner being so that Christ might dwell in you by faith? That is a definite yes. A Yacht? Maybe, maybe not. But, a grasp of the love that is yours in Christ Jesus so that you can grow up and become mature and complete in Christ- that is something I can know for sure God is happy to grant if I ask.
And that brings me to one last point. When I pray I need to be reminded, God CAN do anything. He loves doing the “impossible.” Big, Hairy, Audacious; He’s got those no sweat. Beyond our wildest dreams is in His wheelhouse. So friend, can I ask, what B.H.A.P.s are you praying?