“Dangerous” Prayers?

03 May

Most of us have probably prayed them. Most of the “most of us” have probably also laughed about them in terms of what a silly idea it was. Most of that “most of us” consequently made decisions to think twice before we prayed them ever again.

I’m talking about dangerous prayers. You know the kind I mean.

“Lord, make me more patient.” That sounds all nice and noble until you find yourself the next day standing in a mind-bendingly long line while some sweet grandma at the cash register is counting out six dollars’ worth of pennies and trying to use expired coupons.

“God, teach me how to grow in humility.” That lovely little number will ensure that the pride you didn’t even know you had gets a good jab — or lots of good jabs — in the days and weeks to come. If you want to learn humility, God is good at finding ways of getting you practice.

If we’re feeling really crazy during an exciting worship service, we may even burst out with something like, “Remove everything that hinders love!” or “Let the winds blow!”

I’ll leave it to your imagination (or more likely, your experience) to fill in the results for that one.

God doesn’t do these things because He takes sadistic pleasure in watching us squirm. He does it because He’s infintely kind and really wants to see us grow and become tender before Him. He cares a lot about our hearts, which is why He’s only too happy to answer us when we pray those dangerous prayers. Of course, He will do it in wisdom, taking fully into account how much we can bear and what season we’re in, but rest assured, He’ll do it.

Being stretched hurts, and growing often involves pain. Our pride gets wounded. Our patience gets tried. Our anger gets aroused. All the inner turmoil, darkness, and pain — things which, ordinarily, we have enough grip on our hearts to suppress — it all comes to the surface in a dark-but-lovely mess. And so we make note of which prayers we never want to pray again, or at least, not without at least two angels and a prophet showing up and instructing us to do so.

If you haven’t had some excitement with praying dangerous prayers yourself, chances are you’ve heard of someone else who has. The anticipation is enough to spook a lot of sincere people away from saying such things. But this is where a bit of perspective can become quite useful.

Consider the alternative. What would we have to ask for in order to avoid getting our feathers ruffled? “Dear God, please don’t mess with my pride, sense of entitlement, or convenience. I would much prefer to end my days with a bitter heart and a backlog of anger that I have allowed to sit and fester for as long as it likes. Cranky self-absorbed hermitry sounds like the way to go.”

Um, yuck.

We refer to dangerous prayers as dangerous because they strongly imply that we’re going to have a bumpy ride for awhile. But the alternative is a million times more devastating than having a bad couple of weeks where your friends keep saying irritating things to you and your boss overlooks you again. The alternative means a locked-down heart that will slowly lose all capability of love and hope, because we’d rather cling to our darkness than put up with a little pain which yields greater transformation and joy. The trade-off is not worth doing. In Paul’s words, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory…” (2 Corinthians 4:16-17)

Admittedly, I’ve used some glib examples here, but I do so only to state the point: the only thing “dangerous” about dangerous prayers is if we neglect to pray them. I’d rather let my heart become tenderized (even if that means enduring a little bit of what meat goes through to become tenderized) than resign myself to a distant bitterness that prefers temporary comfort to holiness.

So pray those dangerous prayers. Do it with boldness. Do it unhesitatingly. God will sort out how much of it you need and when, and all you have to worry about is responding to His lead. And that’s a very good thing.


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23 responses to ““Dangerous” Prayers?

  1. brianbeattie

    May 4, 2008 at 7:19 am

    This is so right on. Thanks, Amanda.

    Wisdom is another very dangerous prayer. That starts with the fear of the Lord. I think it usually ends up with lots of hard choices. Or maybe blog posts yours. 😉

  2. katie

    May 4, 2008 at 5:07 pm

    “So pray those dangerous prayers. Do it with boldness. Do it unhesitatingly. God will sort out how much of it you need and when, and all you have to worry about is responding to His lead. And that’s a very good thing.”

    Amanda, thanks for this post and exhortation. So good for my heart.

    There have been I few times through the years where I’ve actually — not kidding — apologized to the Lord for praying “dangerous” prayers and asked him to forget that I had prayed them!! Your post reminds me that my Abba is a happy One, joyfully set upon raising me up in righteousness and mercy. He’s not going to slam or maul when I come before Him desiring to grow. 🙂

    –katie, fitn alum

  3. Dorean Beattie

    May 4, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    “Cranky self-absorbed hermitry sounds like the way to go.”

    You have a way of cutting right to the heart of the thing, don’t you? Um Yuk indeed!

  4. Amanda Beattie

    May 4, 2008 at 10:50 pm

    Dad: Too true! Praying for wisdom is asking for an entire package of stuff… it’s all good, but not as simple as a quick heavenly download which instantly makes sense out of life.

    Katie: Thanks for commenting; I’m glad it spoke to you. God is a good Father and He does not allow us to be tested beyond what we can bear.

    Mom: I try. 🙂

    • br hilary

      June 29, 2009 at 12:13 pm

      My belove sister in christ by the grace of God i will like us to regularly write each other.If possible join me every morndays online on yahoo massanger God bless you

  5. helen

    May 5, 2008 at 1:47 am

    haha… “Jesus, I want to be like You…” my dangerous prayer of choice… 🙂

    • br hilary

      June 29, 2009 at 12:16 pm

      hi sister my name is hilary from africa_cameroon i will like to chat with you always if posible join me every mornday on yahoo massanger.God bless you

  6. Amanda Beattie

    May 5, 2008 at 2:16 am

    Dangerous indeed. But very worth the praying.

  7. Dorean Beattie

    May 5, 2008 at 8:49 pm

    I remember thinking it was pretty unfair that God jumped in so eagerly and answered with a hearty “SURE!” when I prayed for patience, but then totally ignored the thousands of prayers I prayed later saying I was only kidding about that first prayer. I tried, “I changed my mind,” too, but that one also got ignored… Oh dear…

  8. Amanda Beattie

    May 6, 2008 at 4:20 am

    I think that’s because God has the discernment to distinguish between heart-cry prayers and reactionary prayers… 😀

  9. writetools

    May 15, 2008 at 4:26 pm

    My dangerous prayer was “Lord, Break my Heart with what Breaks Yours.” It is a prayer that I am just starting to allow Him to stretch me with…unfortunatly I tend to pray the cranky ones more ofen than the big ones…the dangerous ones… Thank you for the challenge. Amie

  10. Amanda Beattie

    May 19, 2008 at 12:39 am

    Amie: That’s a good one!

  11. Ezeh

    July 25, 2008 at 7:46 pm

    Many people here thinks and belive that dangerous prayers are all about fall down and die or call fire from heaven just like Elijah did, but Luke 9:54… I think has the answer. some even go far to ask the devil to die too.these and more are seen as such prayer in most place so help me and put me right if am wrong.

  12. Brian

    June 18, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    I know this post is a little old, but I found it as I was preparing a reflection on another dangerous prayer. I was reflecting on the Our Father, specifically the part that says “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” That’s another dangerous prayer. Thank you for encouraging us to keep on praying those dangerous prayers, because I think you’re right that it’s better to pray them then not to pray them.

  13. gladwellmusau

    January 26, 2010 at 8:49 am

    Hi Amanda. I know exactly what it means to pray dangerous prayers. But looking back, I realize I am whom I am because of the answer to those dangerous prayers. Great post.



  14. PastorLN

    February 6, 2010 at 11:23 pm

    I love this post. It’s late Saturday night…just scouting out some last minutes quips for tomorrow’s message on “being still”. Nice to know that while I’m working on it you’re praying. Thanks for the good work. Blessings.

  15. Andrew Balfour

    November 25, 2010 at 11:17 pm

    Dear Amanda, thanks for writing this message, for this very night I have been through what I prayed for. And boy it was a dark and painful thing to go through. But even now I feel a thousand feet tall because my Anna Father is awesome. If you would like to hear my experience I will happily write to you.

  16. ELIJAH

    November 28, 2011 at 8:13 am

    Thank you my Dear Lord Jesus Christ, you have given my life a meaning i really appreciate your unconditional love upon me. Thanks for introducing me to dangerous prayers.

  17. Randolph

    November 28, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    I want know more of the dangerous. Prayer book. Help more about the books

  18. Sammy Ochelle

    February 21, 2012 at 3:52 am

    Satan has tried enough to over rule us because of lack of knowledge. Excuse me satan, time up!. You will return 100 foldswhat you ever robbed from me, my family and children. Thank you Lord Jesus, my victory, power, destiny is in my toungue! Halleluyah! I command the Holy ghost fire to intensify the abss fire never to let the demons and satan himselt have peace!. I have been made MORE than conquerors. Amen! Its true saints.

  19. augustine

    July 21, 2012 at 11:55 am

    keep doing what God like….

  20. Pastor Patrick, from Cameroon

    February 26, 2013 at 11:09 am

    When there’s a man to pray there is always a God to Hear. Dangerous prayers becomes effective when you consider satan alone as your enemy and not man


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