When Jesus tells us to do something that seems truly impossible we must view it as an open door rather than a barricade. He is not attempting to push us away, but to call us higher and deeper into His heart. I believe it is actually part of our transformation process to do the impossible. We are sanctified by taking it on. As we receive the invitation and the challenge we inevitably become more like Him. It is in our “yes” that he is allowed to build us up in our faith.
In the ninth chapter of Luke we see a beautiful example of this. Jesus challenged the disciples to feed the multitudes. This provoked them into dialogue with the Lord. Instead of shutting down and giving up on their Rabbi, they began talking with him, explaining they didn’t have any food except five loaves of bread and two fish. Their willingness to have this conversation allows Jesus to address their doubt and to give them specific instructions, leading to the miraculous feeding of the 5,000. More than the miracle, I believe what meant the most to Jesus was that the disciples obeyed him like he obeyed the father, becoming more like him in the process.
The impossible is meant to provoke us into prayer, into dialogue with Jesus. In the context of prayer, the ultimate stagnation of it would be for us to only ask the Lord to do things we could do ourselves in our own human strength. This would defy the very purpose of prayer. For instance, I never pray for God to take my kids to school. No, that responsibility falls on me. If you’re a Christian struggling to pray I submit that one primary reason would be that you have no real reason to. You need an open-door invitation— you need the challenge of the impossible!
Don’t get me wrong. We should pray and worship because we love Jesus and we find our joy in fellowshipping with him. But that does not negate the need for us to experience God breaking through in the realms of the impossible in response to prayer. We need great endeavors, great challenges, impossible adventures that provoke us, coming straight from the mouth of the Lord and piercing into our hearts. We need to be gripped and daunted by a heavenly mandate. Otherwise we will soon be bored in prayer and negate it altogether, or form a powerless and purposeless version of it.
All throughout the gospels Jesus is found praying by the prayerless disciples. He prayed because he had an impossible task and he needed to be fully dependent on the father. The disciples had not yet realized that they were called into the same things he was doing. These miracles, signs, wonders, and acts of sacrificial love were to be eventually carried on by them, but they had no grid for this yet. However, as time went on they began to be intrigued by his prayer life. Afterall, the Lord’s prayer itself was given by Jesus in response to their curiosity.
Yet this was still not enough to transform them into prayerful believers. Towards the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry, in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus rebuked them for not even being able to pray with him for one hour. They kept falling asleep! However, after the Great Commission when Jesus gave them the impossible task of discipling the nations and left them to it after ascending into heaven, we see a different group altogether. In the upper room they were transformed into a highly dedicated group of disciples gathered together in persistent prayer and consecration. They persisted for ten whole days before the Holy Spirit fell on them during the day of Pentecost! The result is the entire book of Acts, a testimony of the early church spreading throughout the earth. Notice two things— 1.) the prayer never stops and 2) the kingdom of God never stops breaking into the realm of the impossible through miracles, signs, wonders, and demonstrations of God’s power. Now, that’s transformation.
When was the last time you’ve heard from the Lord? Has he been silent? Has he felt distant? Could this gap exist because you aren’t wanting to hear the impossible task he has in store for you? Maybe it is to contend for a cancer-free zone in your city. Maybe he is calling you to provide shelter for every homeless person in your region. Maybe he is asking you to forgive someone who has severely hurt you. All of these things are immensely impossible by ourselves! But I have great news for you. He is not limited by anything at all, and this includes your own weaknesses. In fact, He loves to work through weak and dependent ones to show His strength. All you have to do is yield to his voice, settle it in your heart that nothing is impossible with God, and then listen in for what He is speaking to you. Then take it into the prayer room! Talk with him about it! He is so excited and ready to give you the direction you’ll need to do the impossible. The most impossible thing of all? You’ll become like him.
-Brandon McKenzie, Harvest House of Prayer Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org
My first encounter with Take the City was going to Wilson Apartments in Columbus GA. We were met by a man from that neighborhood who prayed with us before we began the outreach. We set up an area for the kids to play and others went door to door witnessing and praying for people. It truly was a humbling experience. Another time I got to pray at an abortion clinic which was another humbling experience. The worship services the night before are always dynamic and spirit led. However I will conclude with the best part for me was being an eight week participant of Take the City boot camp. All of the leaders were simply AWESOME and I learned so much during those eight weeks. I thank God for all these wonderful opportunities!