Embracing the Fire
I have been thinking a lot lately about how lame my prayers are. Sometimes, especially when I am in front of people praying, my prayers seem to be Spirit led and Spirit-filled. They aren’t just me blabbing some repetitious prayer. When I am alone, they seem to be just lame. I realized recently that it somehow got ingrained in me to pray for “protection.” My mind wants to pray for it all the time. It is a default request. I don’t really think this is necessarily a bad thing, but the disciples in Acts chapter 4 prayed for BOLDNESS…not protection, even in the face of a severe beating that they called “flogging.”
No matter what I’m going through in life, Daniel chapter 3 always teaches me something. Reading it once more, I read about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. I still hate the fact that we only know them from their Babylonian names…I wish we knew them as Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, but that’s a different WMD. But the thing that grabbed my attention this time is that they embraced the fire. I always thought that they were scared. I pictured their hearts just beating out of their chests and this “standing” was really difficult for them to do. However, this time, I pictured them with complete confidence. Three guys that knew that God COULD protect them, but were completely okay if He did not…perfectly willing to embrace the fire.
I had to ask myself…do I have this kind of confidence? Could I really embrace FIRE? I don’t think anything used to terrify me more than being burned to death. That is until I read in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs about a dude named Thomas Hawkes that was facing being burned at the stake. His buddies were too terrified of the fire to admit they were Christians along with him. They asked him to give them a sign at some point while he was burning that he was totally “cool” and in his right mind. He told them he would clap for them if the pain was totally tolerable and he was still in his right mind. Just when everyone thought he was slumped over dead and absolutely consumed by the flames, he lifted what was left of his arms as if in honor to God, and hit them together 3 times. His friends were so filled with courage that they embraced the fire…they knew they could do it. The date was June 10th, 1555.
What if you and I stopped praying for protection? What if we just believed that God had us in the palm of His hand and nothing would happen to us unless He willed it? What if we asked for this kind of boldness? What if we asked for this kind of fearlessness? I just typed about 3 boys that embraced fire almost three thousand years ago. I typed about a man that burned up over 400 years ago at a stake. People still talk about them today…amazing! Notice that I am not typing about any of the millions of people who simply prayed their whole lives for protection and for God to “keep them safe.” I am not even saying I am doing this yet…I’m still in the “skeerd” stages…and yes I’ll “say I’m skeerd.” But, I am realizing that I want my kids to see God with me in the fire…not God protecting me from the fire my whole life. I want the world to see Jesus standing with me in the fire and to be so amazed that they want Him too. This will not happen if I keep praying for protection, so I guess here goes…
Lord, help me to embrace the fire. I am asking for a new level of boldness. I know that no matter what, you will be with me. Help me to walk in complete and total victory for the rest of my days.