Unsafe Prayers — Isaiah’s Call
June 26, 2016
For the past few weeks we’ve been looking at unsafe prayers. It sounds strange to say something is an unsafe prayer, but some prayers will cause us to move closer to God as we follow His call in our lives. Today, we’re going to end our series on prayer and on unsafe prayers
Have you ever been asked to do something and you had to make a decision if you were going to say yes or no? Maybe a friend called during the night and asked you for help. But you were sleeping. What do you do? Maybe someone wants you to go on a blind date? Yes or no? Maybe you are torn about what to do in life and you get a great job offer, but it’s not in the field you really want to work in? Yes or No!
What do you do if you sense God is calling to do something? Do we say yes or no? It’s not always an easy answer. We’d like to say “of course, God, I’ll be glad to go to the North Pole in January!” Not really!!
Throughout the Bible God calls people to action. When God calls, it’s not like a phone call, but it’s God speaking to you, prompting you, leading you to do something, to go somewhere, to encourage someone and more. There are different responses to God’s call. I want to talk about 3 responses that will lead us to our unsafe prayer.
One response can occur the way Jonah responded to God.
This is how Jonah starts ~
1 Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,
2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.”
3 But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish . . . away from the presence of the Lord.
What did Jonah do? Jonah ran away from the Lord. He said, “Here I am God. I’m not going.” I wonder how many of us have had a similar experience. You’ve felt prompted to do something. But something gets in the way and you don’t.
There will be times when we sense or believe God wants us to do something, we believe we should . . . but we’re like Jonah, and we say NOPE! Not today, God!
The second one is Moses. In essence when God called Moses, Moses responded by saying, “Here I am. Send someone else. Send my brother.”
In Exodus 3, we read ~ 10 Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”
11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”
Someone else would be better at this than I am. Here I am, God. Send someone else. I’m not the right person.”
It’s so easy for us to do this. “I’m not going to give. They should give. They’ve got more money. I’m not going to go. I don’t have as much time. She’s a stay at home mom. She’s got more time than I do.” “She can do it. He can do it. They’re better equipped. I don’t have time for this. Here I am God. Send someone else.”
Jonah said, “Here I am. I’m not going.” Moses said, “Here I am. Send somebody else.”
Then we come to Isaiah. He prayed the very unsafe and dangerous prayer. And this is the prayer I would like for you to consider praying. In Isaiah 6, Isaiah said~
8 And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”
God asked, who shall I send? Who will go for us? Isaiah very simply responded “HERE I AM! SEND ME!
Notice he didn’t say, “Where are you sending me? How’s the weather? What’s the cost of living? What is the salary? Are there benefits? How much vacation do I get?” He didn’t ask for any of that. Essentially he signed a blank contract . . . and said to God, “Here I am.”
This is not a safe prayer! Yet, I want to encourage you to make this part of your daily prayer life. During the day give yourself to God.
God, I give you my mind. I give you my eyes. I give you my mouth. May I speak what you want me to say. May I hear only your truth and have the wisdom to reject that which is not true. Here are my hands. May they be used to build your kingdom. Here are my feet God. Lead me to where you want me to go. Help me do what you want me to do. God, here I am. Send me.
I want to encourage you to tell God you’re available. Here I am God. You have permission to interrupt me. God, if you want me to go somewhere, I’ll go. If you want me to stay, I’ll stay. If you want me to say something to somebody, I’ll speak. If you want me to be quiet and pray, I will pray. If you want me to give something away, if you want me to use my time, whatever you need me to do, wherever it is God, here I am. I am completely available to you God. I am your servant. Here I am God. Send me.”
Can you see how unsafe this prayer really is. Because when you start praying this way, God’s going to interrupt you, God will prompt you, God will move upon you, and suddenly you’ll recognize God has a lot for you to do.
How do we get to that kind of attitude before God? How do we fully surrender our lives to God? I want to look at the verses that lead up to Isaiah’s unsafe prayer.
The first thing we need is a real, genuine experience with God. In Isaiah 6:1 we read,
1 In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple.
2 Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.
3 And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”
What happened? Isaiah saw the presence of God. He saw him in all of his majesty and all of his glory. These angelic beings were worshiping and praising God crying out, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts!”
When Isaiah saw the presence of God, when he experienced the glory of God, it completely transformed who he was. Why is it that you might not be very available to God? Perhaps it’s because you have not recently experienced the presence of God.
So, how do you experience the presence of God? It’s when we open up our heart and spirit to God. It’s when we say ‘here I am, God. Help me to draw closer to you. Help me to know you better, to love you, to see your power and majesty.’ The goal is to ask God, to be intentional about being in His presence. It doesn’t happen by accident. We need to take action.
James 4:8 teaches us 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. It could be when you’re driving in a car with a worship song on and suddenly you know God is with you. It could be when you’re saying a goodnight prayer with your 4-year-old and you realize, “God is with us in this room.” When you draw near to God, he will draw near to you.
We also need to be aware we are sinners. Most of us would say we’re really good people. And you are. BUT, you’re also sinners! Let me tell you without Christ you are not a good person. You are a horrible, pathetic, evil sinner in the eyes of God. You’re wicked. I’m wicked. We’re sinners.
It was when Isaiah saw the goodness of God he realized the badness in himself. He saw how holy God was, and in that moment he recognized his own unrighteousness. It was a genuine awareness of his sinfulness.
In verse 5 he cried out ~ 5 “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”
What does it take to get to a place where you’re fully surrendered? It takes a genuine experience with the presence of God. It takes a genuine awareness of your sinfulness. And this leads to our then understanding God’s grace.
When you understand just how amazing his grace is, it brings you to a point of full surrender.
Verse 6 tells us ~ 6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar.
7 And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”
What happened? Isaiah saw the presence of God. He recognized, “I am ruined. I am a man of unclean lips.”
With one touch from the goodness of God, his sins were forgiven and completely atoned for. Your lying lips, forgiven.
Your lustful attitudes, forgiven.
Your self-centered thoughts, forgiven.
Your angry outbursts, forgiven.
Every secret sin – – that God knows, forgiven as if they never ever happened.
Psalm 103 reminds us ~ 12 as far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us.
Isaiah 43:25 tells us 25 “I, I am He who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.”
In 1 John 1:9 – 9 If you confess your sins, God is faithful and just and will forgive you of your sins and cleanse you from all unrighteousness.
When you understand the power of the grace of God, it transforms / changes everything. The same way that coal that touched his lips removed his guilt, the blood of Jesus covers our sins. When we recognize that we don’t bring anything, but Jesus brings everything. When we sense God’s presence, when we’re aware of our own sinfulness, and then we experience the undeserved grace of God through Jesus Christ, our only reasonable response,
“Here I am God. Send me.” It’s not my life. It’s not my desires.” It’s one of the most unsafe prayers you can pray.
Here’s the cool thing: This isn’t a one time decision. It’s a daily decision. It’s a daily decision. The reasons it’s daily is because if you’ve called on Jesus and been transformed, here’s what happened, your spirit came to life. From that moment on, there is a war going on inside of you. There is a war because you still have your selfish desires. It’s the you who says, I”M NOT GOING!
Then there’s the spirit side of you. That’s the side that says YES to God. It’s the side that prays, reads the Bible, seeks to do good, seeks to give away your blessings. There’s a battle within each of us – – – a battle of good and evil.
I want to close out with this story – – –
A pastor was greeting people after worship . . . and this guy walked by and said, “Great sermon Pastor.” He was very emotional and he said, “Pastor, what you need to understand is my life has been transformed. The answer is yes! Now, what’s the question?”
The pastor’s like, “Thank you. God bless you! He’s dumbfounded.” The next week the same guy greets the pastor after worship . . . “Pastor, Pastor, oh my! God is so good. God is amazing. I just want you to know the answer is yes. What’s the question?” The pastor’s like, “I don’t know. I’ll get back to you on that.” The 3rd week comes . . . and the same guy is all emotional, “Oh Pastor, I can’t believe I get to be here. Pastor, the answer is yes. Now, what’s the question?” The pastor says, “Can we get together for coffee this week? We’ll talk about the question.”
Finally, they’re having coffee and the pastor asks, “What’s this whole yes answer thing?” He said, “Pastor, you need to understand is I was really, really messed up.” I was addicted, I was neglecting my wife, my kids were neglected, my job. He went through the whole list. I came to church one week and you preached this a message, and God just opened up my eyes. I saw it. I called on Jesus. I’m a new person. Everything’s different. Nothing’s the same. Ask my wife, she’ll tell you. Ask my children, they’ll tell you. I’m a different person because of Jesus.”
“Pastor, what I need you to understand is this, the answer is yes. Whatever you need, 2am emergency, mow a yard, go visit somebody, pray for something, give to whatever. Pastor, God transformed my life, I’m all in. The answer is yes. Now, what’s the question?”
How do you get to the place where you have the courage to pray this unsafe prayer? “God, I don’t need to know the details. All I need to know is that you’re calling me. If you’re calling me, the answer is yes.” How do you get there? You truly experience the presence of God. You truly recognize your own sinfulness. You truly experience the grace and the forgiveness of our savior Jesus. When that happens, you don’t just try to, you get to give your whole life to God. Some people will say, “God, here I am. I’m not going.” Some people will say, “Here I am. Send somebody else.”
You get to be different. You can be different! You can answer God saying . . . “Here I am God. Send me.”