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FIRST-PERSON: Learn to pray for the ‘impossible’

MILL VALLEY, Calif. (BP)–Earlier this month, it was my privilege to facilitate a half-day of prayer for pastors and other church leaders from the Bakersfield, Calif. area. We combined Bible reading, a few short messages, singing and prayer in a nearly four-hour service of intercession. We prayed in several formats and about various categories of issues. We concluded our prayer time by praying for things that seem “impossible.”

To set the stage, I told this story: In 1981, I attended a prayer conference taught by Don Miller, a prominent Bible teacher during that time. During the conference, he asked, “What are you praying for that seems impossible?” He then challenged us to write our request. I complied, writing “I need $500,” thinking that was more money than God probably could locate. Then Miller said, “I am praying for God to reveal the cure to all cancer in my lifetime.”

Wow! Suddenly my prayer request seemed rather insignificant. When I had cancer in 1994, I reflected on that prayer conference and Miller’s request. My kind of cancer was, by that time, largely curable (and I have been cured). I often have wondered if my health is directly attributable to Miller’s praying.

Here are some of the requests we voiced as we prayed for the impossible:

1. For abortion, as a means of birth control in the United States, to stop.

2. For the evangelization of India.

3. For regime change to allow religious freedom in North Korea and throughout the Muslim world.

4. For Southern Baptists to forsake greed and materialism, rediscovering financial sacrifice as a Christian responsibility.

5. For the American church to awaken from its lethargy and rediscover passion for the Gospel and personal holiness.

These are just a sample to expand your thinking. What are you praying for that is, or at least seems, impossible? We pray often about mundane issues, so why not add something impossible to your prayer list? Pray in a manner worthy of the Person you are addressing.
Jeff Iorg is president of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in Mill Valley, Calif., just north of San Francisco. This column first appeared at his blog, JeffIorg.com.