We consider it a privilege, an honor, and a joyful responsibility to pause and lift up a need before the throne of God, asking him to have mercy, to move, to guide, to provide, to act, to do a miracle for people that we know and love. Each day someone asks that God would heal their loved one from cancer, help a neighbor find a job, or restore a hurting marriage. Students request prayer to get into the college of their choice, to help pay for that college, or to deal with the pain of their parents’ divorce. Some people pray for a spouse. Others ask for help to forgive a person who hurt them.
Even though the requests vary, people are asking God to do something for them or someone they love. God, help me. God, help someone I love. Lord, I need…. Father, would you please…?
God, do something for me.
Please hear me…we should definitely pray this way. We should always invite God’s presence, God’s power, God’s peace to intervene in our lives. We should ask God to do miracles on our behalf. We should lift up our loved ones and remind ourselves of how God can move in their lives. We should seek the Lord for all of our needs.
But we shouldn’t stop there.
What if instead of asking God to just do something for us, we prayed a dangerous, self-denying prayer of availability to our heavenly Father?
What if we prayed perhaps the most dangerous prayer of all?
“Send me, Lord. Use me.”
Isaiah prayed such a prayer of unreserved availability in the presence of God. The Old Testament prophet retells of his encounter with the Holy One when God asked, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” (Isa. 6:8a) And without knowing the details, without knowing when or where, Isaiah prayed this stunning, life-altering prayer: “Here I am. Send me!” (Isa. 6:8b).
Notice Isaiah didn’t ask for any details. He didn’t ask God where. Or when. Or what would happen. This is why this prayer can feel so dangerous. “God, send me. Use me. I’m not asking for details. I don’t need to know the benefits. Or if it will be easy. Or if I will enjoy it. Because of who you are—my God, my King, my Savior—I trust you. Because you are sovereign over the universe, I surrender my will to you, every part of me. Take my mind, my eyes, my mouth, my ears, my heart, my hands, and my feet and guide me toward your will. I trust you. God, my answer is yes. Now what’s the question?”
Imagine if you prayed this way. Are you sick of safe prayers? Are you tired of living for things that don’t matter? Do you despise half-hearted, lukewarm Christianity? Then pray the dangerous prayer.
Here I am, Lord.