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Prayers in the Land of “If Not”

In Amazed and Confused, I talk about the importance of having “if not” faith. The kind of faith that navigates us through the moments when God’s actions collide with our expectations. The faith that sustains us when God doesn’t respond in the way we think that He could or should. The kind of faith that stands the test of life.

It’s reflected in a story in Daniel 3 in the humble confidence of three Jewish boys who find themselves caught between a crazy king and a fiery furnace in Babylon. When they refuse to bow down to the idol the king has erected, they were threatened with death. This was the response:

Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to defend our actions in this matter. We are ready for the test. If you throw us into the blazing furnace, then the God we serve is able to rescue us from a furnace of blazing fire and release us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if He does not, O king, you can be sure that we still will not serve your gods and we will not worship the golden statue you erected.

This is the kind of faith that knows God can, believes God will, but chooses to worship even if He does not.

Maybe you are living in the land of “if not” right now. Perhaps you are staring into a future that seems uncertain. What does prayer look like?

I am facing an “if not” moment in my life right now. Beyond the obvious prayers that God will come through, work miracles, and do what only He can do, I’m also praying for a few other things. Including:

  • That I would see the faithfulness of God, regardless of the outcome.
  • That God would glorify Himself in me and through me, regardless of the outcome.
  • That those who are a part of the journey would be curious about the Jesus who I follow and the faith that sustains me.

What do you pray in the land of “If Not?”

May 19, 2014 [ Tags: , , ] 15 Comments

15 Responses to Prayers in the Land of “If Not”

  1. I’m studying Esther right now. If I perish, I perish!

  2. Donna Waldrop says:

    I am about to finish your book “Amazed and Confused”. When I first started reading I wasn’t sure I would finish it but I have thoroughly enjoyed the study of Hab. and your commentary. My pastor husband and I are without a church ministry right now. He resigned back in Feb. We are trusting God for the future and are living in the land of “If Not” right now. We have seen His hand so many times in the last few months and in the months leading up to Feb. We feel He brought us to that dead end that your talked about in your book, so we can make a turn to something beyond what we would have asked or hoped before.
    So thank you for your writings and for being a part of “my story”. I will pray for you!

  3. Korihor says:

    Prayer doesn’t work. God isn’t real. If I’m wrong, then have God tell me himself. Ask your God why he allows rape & slavery. I would love to hear his answer to that!

  4. Heather says:

    Korihor- want to meet up and talk about it?

    • Korihor says:

      Have your God contact me directly to setup a time to meet.

      • Heather says:

        I’m more than happy to meet you. Ebenezers Coffeehouse. Let’s find a time.

        • Korihor says:

          Hey, I still haven’t heard anything from God yet. “Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.”(1 Kings 18:27)

          More likely than not, God doesn’t exist. And it would take an act of God to prove me wrong.

          I hate it when Christians get the idea in their head that Atheists who want to engage with Christians are “seeking”. We are not seeking, we are spreading the good news of Atheism and sharing our beliefs with others because there are many Christians out there who spread misinformation, mischaracterizations, and outright lies about Atheists.

          If you would like to learn more about Atheism, I highly suggest the book, “Atheism For Dummies”.

  5. Heather says:

    Hey Korihor-

    Wow. There you go again making assumptions. This time making assumptions about my assumptions. I’ve never assumed anything about you other than the idea that you wanted to engage in honest conversation. Now that you have stated your intentions– to use my blog as a platform to declare your own ideas– I’m going to have to block you. I don’t block people who disagree with me, but I do block people who are interested in using my blog as a megaphone for their agenda. This blog is open to anyone and everyone willing to engage honestly.

    Also, if I have said anything to spread misinformation, mischaracterize, or spread lies about atheists on this platform, I apologize, I would love for you to point those out to me so I can avoid that in the future.

    Finally, if you would like to re-engage, shoot me an email. You know where to find me. I’d still love to hear your story and would be open to looping you back into the conversation.

  6. Betsy Christner says:

    Hi Heather,
    I am leading a Bible/Book study starting Sept. 17, using your book.
    There were four of us who drove all night on August 28 and had coffee at Ebenezers Friday morning, we had three goals: have coffee at Ebenezers, go to NCC and meet Mark Batterson. We accomplished all three. What a blessing it was to worship at Barraks row and meet Mark, we told him we were his Fan Club from Sarasota, FL. While in the coffee house we bought your book and decided we would use your book for our next Bible/book study. I will keep you informed how it is going. I put it on my FB page and have received calls from women who don’t attend church or they attend other churches who want to be a part of this group. PTL. Thank you and God bless. Have a great week.

  7. Ezra Byer says:

    Hi Heather, have enjoyed reading some of your stuff on this blog. Had a question – my wife and three others recently moved to Toronto Ontario to plant a church. Currently, we are in the process of developing six small groups of people in this area. Was wondering if you would have time available to do a video call so we could ask you some questions about tips you might have. Thank you!

  8. Heather says:

    Hey Ezra-

    Love hearing about your church plant! I would encourage you to talk to our small groups pastor, Will Johnston. You can connect with him at will (at) theaterchurch (dot) com

  9. Betsy Christner says:

    Hi Heather,
    We are on chapter 4, of your book, we are being challenged to dig deeper, please pray for my group, so many hurts.

  10. Wendy Blight says:

    Heather, I want to thank you for setting such an amazing example for all of us on how to reply to those who disagree with our beliefs. I wish those with differing beliefs knew how much we desire to engage in honest conversation…even to share a bit of what we believe if they are open. I am praying for this person right now. Clearly, God is at work in and around her, and I pray for the right person to come along and open the door of her heart for more of the gospel message. Whether she receives it or not is not up to us. May she just gain greater understanding of that which offends and angers her. and may the Lord do the rest.

    Love you, friend!!!

    Wendy

  11. Eleonora Meono says:

    Heather,
    Your book came to me in the right time, a time of many questions, doubts and uncertainty.
    We came to the USA (My husband and two children) because my husband was offered a position as a pastor in a Hispanic Congregation in Falls Church, VA, as part of a large American Baptist congregation.
    We have faced many troubles trying to get our status changed to residents, but in the meantime our oldest son became 21 years old and has complicated everything.
    We are on the risk to be separated as a family, because we are no longer legal guardians of our son, he´s an adult at the eyes of the law.
    Nor my son, neither I can work because of the type of visa we have had. It has been very hard on our budget.
    My son won some scholarships to go to culinary school, but lost them because of the legal status. If you´re not resident or citizen in this country you have a lot against you, even if your are here legally.

    Your book has been answering some of my questions. Now I don´t feel guilty to ask God WHY? or UNITIL WHEN?

    We´re still working at the same church. I´m part of the worship team and are in charge of the Adult Sunday School, among other things.
    I suffer from Fibromyalgia and some times is very difficult my everyday life.

    I would love to meet you in person so maybe you can give advise or maybe be my mentor. I´m in need of this.

    God bless you!!! Thank you for write this book.

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