Christ Following, prayer

Learning How to Pray from Napolean Bonaparte

March 21, 2012 • By

I read, in a book, this story about Napolean.  It goes like this:

The great French conqueror, Napolean, in his quest to rule the world, was quite surprised on one occasion when he encountered unexpected resistance while attempting to capture an island in the Mediterranean.  The fighting was fierce and he lost many good men in the battle before finally overcoming the enemy.

Napolean and his generals were having a celebration feast when from out of nowhere, it seemed, a young officer approached him.  Napolean saw the young man and asked abruptly, “What do you want?”

The young man said, “Sir, please give me this island.”

The generals were deeply offended at the brashness of the young man.  But, suddenly, Napolean asked for pen and ink, promptly writing out a deed to the island.  He then signed it and gave it to the impetuous officer.

By this time the generals were astounded.  They asked their leader, “How could you give away the island to that young man when so many of our men paid such a high price to obtain it?”

Napolean responded, “He honored me by the magnitude of his request.”

Did you catch that?  “He honored me by the magnitude of his request”!!

You know, I think sometimes we simply pray too small.  We pray prayers that might come to pass on their own because we’re afraid to believe for the impossible.  We pray safe prayers, for things that we can make happen on our own with hard work and perseverance.  We pray for mud piles, but God wants us to pray for islands!

This story about Napolean provokes me to ask God for the impossible, implausible, and downright grandiose.  I believe the Lord is honored by those kinds of prayers.

What’s YOUR island?  Let me encourage you to bring your massive, hairy, crazy dream to God and see what happens.  In fact, why don’t you start right here?  If you’re willing to put yourself out there and share your impossible prayer in the comments section, I’ll commit to agreeing in prayer with you for it.

If you’re reading this, and would like to pray for the requests posted here, just hit that reply link under the request and let that person know you’re praying for them.

I’ll start OK?  My big prayer is to be able to take three missions trips a year, including one to Africa this August to visit the well our church just financed.  It’s a $4,300 trip, but it might as well be a million dollar trip for us.

Now how about you?