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Watch 2022 online sermons » Joel Osteen » Joel Osteen - Dare To Pray Boldly

Joel Osteen - Dare To Pray Boldly

Joel Osteen - Dare To Pray Boldly
TOPICS: Prayer, Boldness

I want to talk to you today about Dare to Pray Boldly. One reason we don't see God do great things is we're only asking for small things. We pray over our food, we pray for protection, we pray for wisdom. And that's all good, but when was the last time you asked God to do something that seems impossible, out of the ordinary, you couldn't accomplish on your own? If God answered everything you're praying about now, would it be big enough, would you be satisfied? Are you asking for your dreams? Are you asking for something that's over your head, those secret petitions he's put in your heart? You know it's from him, but you haven't told anyone, seems too far out, unthinkable.

Many prayers are not being answered simply because they're not being asked. If you only pray small prayers, you're not going to see the greatness of our God. If you only ask for little things, you're not going to reach the fullness of your destiny. There are dreams that God has put in your heart that you can't accomplish on your own. There are obstacles that you'll face that are too big for you to overcome by yourselves. If you don't learn to pray bold prayers, if you don't learn to ask God big, ask for your dreams, for things that are over your head, then you'll get stuck where you are.

"Well, Joel, I don't want to be selfish. I know God has other things to deal with". You are not inconveniencing God by praying bold. Bold prayers get God's attention. Bold prayers cause angels to go to work. Bold prayers open doors you could never open. Bold prayers turn impossible situations around. When you pray boldly, you're releasing your faith. You're saying, "God, I know there's nothing too hard for you. I know you're the all-powerful Creator of the universe, that you can take me where I can't go on my own".

God said in Psalm 2:8, "You're my child, what do you want? Ask me and I'll give you nations as a present, I'll give you continence as a prize". We're asking for small things, "God, help me to make ends meet, help me to live with this sickness, help me to endure this job". God is saying, "I have nations for you. I have something awesome in your future, something bigger than you've imagined, but there's a condition: you have to ask". You're not going to see the nations, you won't see the continents as a prize, if you're praying small, weak, limited prayers. "God, help me to make my house payment this month. I mean with gas prices, inflation, the recession", that's an ordinary prayer. A bold prayer is, "God, help me to pay my house off. Help me to have overflow, so I can pay someone else's house off".

A normal prayer, "God, my child's off course. Help him to not get in trouble. Keep him out of harm's way". That's okay, but ordinary prayer gets ordinary results. If you only pray small, then you'll only receive small. A bold prayer is, "God, I'm asking you to not just protect my child, but help him fulfill his destiny, use him in great ways to make a difference with his life". Or maybe you've been through disappointments, life has thrown you curves. Normal prayers, "God, just help me to survive, help me to endure". A bold prayer is, "Father, you said you'd give me double for the unfair things that have happened. You said you have beauty for these ashes, so Lord, thank you that something awesome is coming my way".

James 4:3 says, "You ask and do not receive because you ask amiss". The word amiss in the original language means sick, weak, miserable. This is saying, "You won't receive when you pray sick prayers, when you pray weak prayers". When we pray to survive, endure, make it through, that's a sick prayer. "Oh, God, I'm so defeated, I'm under so much pressure, God, you've got to do something". That prayer needs to go to urgent care, that prayer is on his last leg. Try a different approach: how about a bold prayer? "God, I have a lot coming against me, but I know you being for me is greater than what's trying to stop me. Lord, I thank you the tithe of the battle is beginning to turn right now". That's a healthy prayer. That gets God's attention. He responds to faith-filled prayers.

And sometimes what we call prayer is really a complaining session, "God, you know these people at work are getting on my nerves. And my children don't appreciate me. My back's been hurting. My husband's been rude. The dog doesn't like me. The goldfish is depressed. God, you've got to do something", that's a sick prayer. You need to pray from a place of faith. You don't have to tell God all your problems, he already knows everything that's going on. Ask him for what you want him to do, ask him for what you're believing for. "God, I'm up against all this trouble, but Lord I thank you that you are turning it around, that you are fighting my battles for me, that you'll bring me out better than I was before".

John chapter 4, Jesus had traveled to the city of Samaria. His disciples went into town to get food. He was sitting at a well waiting. This woman came to get water, Jesus asked her for a drink. She said, "Sir, you're a Jew, I'm a Samaritan, why are you asking me for water"? Jews and Samaritans didn't have anything to do with each other back then. Jesus said to her, "If you only knew who I am, and how generous our God is, you would ask me and I would give you living water". She said, "But you don't even have a bucket, where would you get this water". She was thinking about water, something ordinary, but Jesus said, "If you knew who I was, you wouldn't ask me for water. I have so much more, I can give you living water".

When you know who our God is, when you realize he created the universe, he spoke worlds into existence, he parted Red Seas, healed the lepers, multiplied food, closed mouths of lions, you won't just ask him for water, for ordinary things, you'll ask him for living water, you'll ask him for your dreams, you'll ask him for what looks impossible. Are you like this lady, asking him for water, asking him for the ordinary? He's saying, "I have living water, I have abundance, I have healing, I have breakthroughs, I have houses, I have businesses, I have ministries, I have favor that will catapult you where you can't go by yourselves". He's saying, "Ask big. Ask me for what I've whispered in your heart, what I've spoken to you in the night. Ask me for the nations".

The scripture (Daniel 11:32) says, "The people who know their God will be strong and do exploits". When you know who you're talking to, you won't pray weak prayers, you won't pray sick prayers, you'll pray bold prayers. You'll ask for things that other people think are far out, too much, that could never happen. But bold prayers get bold results. I wouldn't be standing here today if I had not learned this principle: to ask God for big things, for things that seemed over my head, but I knew deep down God put it in my heart. I don't want to come to the end of life and have to wonder what would have happened if I would have prayed bold, believe big, taken the limits off of God.

Three years after my father passed, and I stepped up to pastor the church, a friend called and said, "The Houston rockets basketball team was moving out of this building, the former Compaq Center, and it was going to be put up for sale". When I heard that, something came alive on the inside. I knew it was supposed to be ours, but everything in my mind said, "There's no way. You're not qualified, city's never going to let a church have it. Plus you don't have the money, how would you be able to pay for it"? But God on purpose will put things in your heart that are too big for you, over your head, that seem impossible. That's a test. Are you going to talk yourself out of it, just ask for the water, just ask for the normal? Or are you going to recognize who the one is that's putting that dream in you? Are you going to recognize who you're dealing with, the all-powerful Creator of the universe? When you'll do, you'll ask him for living water.

I said, "God, this is over my head, but I know it's not over your head. God, we don't have the funds, but I know you own it all. God, those that are opposing us are bigger, stronger, but I know you being for us is more powerful than what's coming against us". Victoria and I would come out at night when they weren't having an event here, and we'd walk around the building. We would thank God that he was making a way, where we didn't see a way. Against all odds, doors opened, the right people showed up, and God gave us the building.

Are you praying any bold prayers? Are you believing for anything that's out of reach, your mind says there's no way? Maybe it's to set a new standard for your family, "God, let me rise out of this lack in mediocrity, let me leave an inheritance to my children's children. God, let me own my own business. Let me build that orphanage. Let me be free from this illness". You won't see the great things if you're only praying for small things.

Many times in the Old Testament, when the people were up against a big challenge, they would start their prayer off by talking about the greatness of God. King Jehoshaphat had three armies surrounding him, they were quickly closing in. He gathered the people of Judah at the city square. They looked up to the heavens, he didn't say "God, where are you? Look what's happening! We're about to be captured". He said (2 Chronicles 20:6-9), "Oh, Lord, you alone are God. You are the ruler of the nations. You are powerful and mighty, no one can stand against you. We remember how you brought us through war, through famine, through disease, now we're asking you, o great God, to deliver us from these mighty armies". When you remind yourself who you're dealing with, you won't pray weak prayers, you won't pray sick prayers, you'll pray boldly, you'll ask God to do the impossible, what seems unlikely. Those are prayers that gets God's attention. The people of Judah, they didn't even have to fight. The three armies turned on each other, and ended up defeating themselves.

I met a lady after the service a while back, and she came here with her family from South America, and she didn't speak English. She started coming to Lakewood, and listening to the services on the head phones through the Spanish translation. One Sunday she heard me talking about this: Praying Bold Prayers, and believing for the dreams that God put in your heart. She had always wanted to start a business to help people learn to speak English. She said, that day in the service for the first time she said, "God, I want to own my own business. God, help me to make it happen". She didn't even speak English, she was trying to learn. She knew that was something that God dropped in her spirit. What activated her faith is when she had the boldness to ask for it. She dared to ask for what seemed impossible.

Today, 12 years later, this young lady has an incredibly successful business. She's taught thousands of people to speak English. She told me back there, "God has done so much more than I've ever imagined". But I wonder, if there are dreams locked up in you, that you've never asked for? Compaq Centers you've never dared to say, "God, let it happen". Healing, businesses, spouses, freedom that God's just waiting for you to be bold enough to ask him for. It seems over your head, far out, every circumstance says it will never happen, but do you realize who you're dealing with? Don't go your whole life asking for water, when he has living water, something you've never experienced, supernatural favor, supernatural increase, supernatural healing. When your mind tries to talk you out of it, you have to do like Jehoshaphat, "Oh, God, there is none like you. You created the heavens and the earth. All power is in your hand. When you speak universes come to pass. God, I believe you can do what you promise. God, I'm asking you to bring this dream to pass".

Where will you be in 10 years if you'll do like her, and start praying bold prayers? God has put things in all of us we can't accomplish on our own, we don't have the experience, the funds, the obstacles too big, the people too strong. If you could do it by yourself, you wouldn't need God's help. This is where you have to pray a bold prayer. Not a weak prayer, not a get by prayer, "God, it's just little old me, I'm at a disadvantage, just give me the leftovers". You have to activate your faith. You have to ask for your dreams, ask for your goals, ask him to open doors that seem impossible, ask him to increase your business, ask him for your children to be mighty in the land, ask him to take your family to a new level. Yes, it's okay to ask for water, but you're dealing with the one who can give you living water. He has so much more. You may not see how it can happen, that's what faith is all аbout: "God, I don't see a way, but I know you have a way".

I can imagine up in heaven there's this huge warehouse, it's filled with boxes on shelves. Everywhere you look: acres and acres of boxes. Each box has a name on it. You ask God what these boxes are? He says "These boxes are blessings that I had for my people, but they never asked for it. There's a business that belonged to jim, but he never asked. There's a Compaq Center that belonged to Julie, she didn't ask for it. There's healing I had for Rolando, there's freedom that belonged to Rachel, there's a property I had for maria, but they only prayed for small things, they only asked for water. They never asked me for their dreams. They never asked me for something out of the ordinary". Don't let your boxes stay on the shelf. Don't let those blessings go unclaimed. There are things that God has put in your heart, things that he's whispered in the night: you have to start asking him for it, start praying some bold prayers.

"Well, what if my desire is not something that God wants"? If it's not the right thing, it's not going to happen. But what if it is the right thing, and you never ask? You just pray small prayers. "Well, Joel, I don't want to be greedy, I don't want to be in this for just me". No, your destiny is tied to helping others. Your assignment is tied to building the kingdom. It's not greedy to want to take your family to a new level. It's not wrong to want to see your business blessed, so you can support the kingdom in a greater way. The key is: where is your heart? If it's just all about to look good, build your ego, not care about others, of course that's the wrong motive. But when your heart is to honor God with what he's blessed you with, to bless your family, to be a bigger blessing to others, then you can ask for big things and watch what God will do.

I have a friend that feeds a million children a day. He supports charities that takes care of all these kids. That inspires me, "God bless me in such a way, that I can feed a million children". It's going to take bold prayers to do the awesome things God has called you to do. You haven't seen, heard or imagined what God has in store for you. Take the limits off of him. Start praying big prayers, asking for big things to make a difference in your community, to leave the world a better place. Some of you God's going to use to find a cure for disease, that will save people's lives. Some of you are going to start hospitals, where there is no medical care now. Some of you are going to develop software that will impact the world. Some of you are going to write a bestselling book, have music that inspires people, produce movies that uplift. Some of you are going to raise children that will be the next presidents, senators, architects, teachers, pastors, leaders. How is this going to happen? By praying bold prayers. By asking God for the dreams he's put in your heart.

You have to get in agreement with God: don't go through life with a small vision, praying small, thinking small. You activate your faith by not only believing, but by asking, by saying, "God, let me impact the culture. God, let my children leave their mark. God, open doors so I can accomplish what you've destined me to do". Pray big, believe big, and God will exceed your expectations. He'll do more than you can imagine. We are living in a day, I believe, where God is going to show out in new ways. He's looking for people, number one, who will honor him by living a life of integrity, of character, keeping him first place. And number two: people that will believe big, people that will get out of their comfort zones. Not pray weak prayers, not ask for water, but people that will ask for the living water, for things that they cannot do on their own. That's when God steps in.

When you run out of options, when the odds are against you, every circumstance says there's no way, that's when God says, "Let me show you why I'm called the great I am, let me show you who controls the universe, how I can open doors, how I can change people's minds, how I can cause the right people to show up, how I can break chains that have held you back, bring favor, promotion, influence that catapults you further than you can imagine". We're not dealing with a weak God, a God that's looking for ideas, scratching his head, hoping plans will work out. We are dealing with the most powerful force in the universe.

Remember, when he calmed the Sea of Galilee, the disciples were so in awe, they said, "Who is this man, that even the winds and the waves obey him"? You want to get God's attention? Don't pray weak prayers. God responds to bold prayers. When you pray boldly, you're saying "God, I know who you are. I recognize you're all powerful, that nothing can stand against you. That what you have purpose will come to pass". People can't stop him, bad brakes can't stop him, sickness can't stop him, how you were raised can't stop him, even the wind and waves can't stop him. You're praying to a God who is in complete control not just of your life, but he's in control of your surroundings.

In the scripture five armies got together and came against Joshua, and the people of Gibeon. Joshua had already conquered Jericho, led the Israelites into the Promised Land, now he was facing another great challenge: the city of Gibeon was next to where he lived at Gilgal, the Gibeonites were his allies, they sent word that these armies were attacking because they were associated with Joshua. They didn't want the Israelites to be that strong. So Joshua and his men traveled all night and snuck up on the armies and attacked them. They were caught off guard and began to run. A hellstorm came and killed many of those that were fled.

What's interesting is not one of Joshua's men were harmed by the hell. Well, it was getting late in the day, Joshua was trying to finish them off. He knew if he didn't completely wipe them out, they would cause trouble in the future. What could he do? It was about to get dark, they would get away. He could have prayed, "God, maybe we'll get the rest another time, just give us strength to get back home, protect us as we travel". That would have been an ordinary prayer, but Joshua wasn't ordinary, he was unusual. He knew how to pray bold prayers. He stopped what they were doing, I can imagine everyone looking at him, "Why'd you quit chasing them? Why aren't we pursuing them anymore"? Joshua said, "Hang on, I've got to pray". They were all intrigued, was he going to pray? He said, "God, I'm asking you to stop the sun. Keep the moon in its place. God, we need the light to finish them off".

I can imagine his men thinking, "Man, the heat's getting to him, Joshua was losing his mind". God could have said, "Joshua, what kind of prayer is that? Don't you know the solar system has to keep moving, planets are rotating, everything's precise, has to stay perfectly in tune? I can't stop the sun". But God is not intimidated when you pray bold prayers. He's not at a loss to figure out how to bring about his purpose. In fact, he's the one that put the id in you in the first place. Joshua asked for the sun to stop, the next verse simply says (Joshua 10:13), "So the sun and the moon stood still until the Israelites defeated their enemies". No big explanation. You would think there would be several verses, this amazing occurrence took place, but it's like no big deal. God wanted the sun to stop, so it stops.

"Well, Joel, that seemed kind of far out". Yes, but we serve a far out God. It says in Ephesians, "God has far and beyond favor". And I know logically speaking this doesn't make sense, in the natural there's no way, but God is supernatural. He created the solar system, he spoke the universe into existence. He can stop what he wants to stop, and still cause it to work. Are you praying any bold prayers? Maybe not for the sun to stop, but how about for your child to do something awesome? Or for you to set a new standard for your family, for you to accomplish that dream that seems far out? God put the thought in you. Perhaps, he's just waiting for you to ask.

A friend of mine wasn't feeling well, made an appointment with his doctor. His wife dropped him off, he said, "Come back in a couple of hours and pick me up". Two hours turned into five months into hospitals. He had COVID, had to be put on a ventilator, didn't look good. He finally lost consciousness. He was in a coma for 72 days. Three times he died, and they brought him back to life. The nurse called his wife and said he was about to pass, and she went to the hospital. You know how it is, you're not allowed in, but at one point the security guard wasn't watching, and she snuck by him and jumped in the elevator.

I'm not suggesting you do this, this is her story... She got off the elevator waited for the nurses to clear. She went into his room. He was still in a coma. She called his full name out loud, and said, "In the name of Jesus I command you to come back into this body, to live and to not die". All of the sudden, he woke up from over two months of being in coma. He told me, he said, "Joel, I heard that prayer". That was the turning point, begin to recover. Today he is perfectly healthy, fulfilling his purpose.

But I wonder, where he would be number one: if his wife was not that sneaky, and number two if she didn't know how to pray bold prayers? My question to you again: are you praying any bold prayers? Are you asking God to turn situations around that look impossible? Or have you talked yourself out of it? How many miracles are we missing, because we're not asking? Dare to ask! Not just for your needs, not just for the small things, but ask for your dreams, ask for the big things God's put in your heart. He's longing to be good to you. He wants to show you his favor in new ways, he's just waiting for you to ask. If you'll do this, I believe and declare: like with Joshua, you're going to see supernatural things, doors open you never dreamed would open, the right people show up, healing, promotion, breakthroughs, the fullness of your destinies, in Jesus name. And if you receive it, can you say amen?
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