Mr. Double Down, part one

If you’re a gambler or maybe just a fan of the movie Swingers then you’ve likely heard the phrase double down. It’s a core concept of the game of Blackjack, where when you find yourself in an advantageous position at the start of hand you double your bet. The obvious idea here is that if you see that your chances of winning are high, then it makes sense to double your bet so your winnings will be multiplied.

A week or so ago, I wrote about a story in the Bible that included Elisha the prophet. I didn’t spend much time talking about Elisha himself, and today I want to remedy that. Because Elisha did one of my favorite things in the Bible. He’s serving underneath a great prophet of God, Elijah (yeah, the names get confusing, deal with it). Elijah’s time on earth is about to be done, and Elisha knows this, and so they come to a place where Elijah asks his protege an interesting question. It’s a question we’ve studied already on this blog, when God asked something very similar of Solomon.

2 Kings 2:9 When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you.” And Elisha said, “Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me.”

Man, just like I was with Solomon, I’m so impressed with what Elisha asked for here. He’s seen the way God moves through Elijah, I’m pretty sure Elisha knew that he was probably getting whatever he asked for here. And he’s watched and seen and heard about the things Elijah has been able to do with his power. Elijah has caused it to stop raining for years at a time, brought the rain back, called down fire from heaven multiple times, parted a river, and spoken multiple prophecies that came to pass. Oh yeah, and he resurrected a person from the dead. And let me be clear, God did these things through Elijah, I’m not giving credit to the man here. I’m just saying, this is the power of God within Elijah and the things that were done by him.

Elisha wasn’t present for all of these things, but you have to assume that he knew. Elijah himself probably told him. So here’s Elisha, he knows he’s set to take over as prophet once Elijah is gone, and he’s seen and heard about all of these wonders of God that Elijah has brought forth. And what does Elisha do? He asks for double the power! It’s an audacious request, isn’t it? You can call down fire from heaven, you can raise the dead, you can part rivers, you can control the weather, you can speak prophecies, AND I WANT DOUBLE!

Now, there’s more to this story, but I want to pause for a minute and ask a question. How audacious are we in our prayer life? When we go before God with our prayers, the God who created the heavens and the earth, the God who sees through all time, the God who is so vast that He has no beginning and no end, what are we asking for? Relief from the stress at work? Better relations with people around us? A new job? Healing? Help with school? Money? Seriously, I wonder what the most common prayers are. I’m just throwing out a random guess here, but I’d bet that safety, finances, and healing are probably some of the most common prayers. And don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with common prayers. I too want safety, I could definitely use some help with finances, and I’m a walking testament to the fact that prayers for healing work. So I’m not knocking those prayers. But today I want to ask a question, just to throw it out there. If God is a limitless being with limitless power, why are we limiting ourselves when we pray to Him?

I have someone in my life that isn’t in a relationship with God right now. I pray often for this person’s salvation. But I’m going to get audacious right now in prayer. Father God, you know the person I’m talking about, and today I’m coming before you asking for more. Lord, I ask not only that you continue to draw this person to you and open their eyes and ears to who and what you are, not only that you save their soul, but that you would turn their life into one that explodes with Godly power. I ask right now that as you bring them up into your ways, you transform this person into someone that won’t just be coming to heaven themselves, but that will directly lead to the salvation of hundreds and even thousands of others. I ask this in the precious name of Jesus, amen.

I don’t know about you, but I want to break away from things that are common. Ours is not a common God, and we shouldn’t be a common people. Be extraordinary. We’re called to be lights in this world, so shine like the sun! I don’t just want to pray for a new job, I want the greatest job in the world. And yes, it may be God’s will that I end up working at Taco Bell, and that’s fine too, but until that’s where he puts me I’m setting my sights on incredible things. I don’t just pray healing over my loved ones, I pray that God will regenerate their organs to the state they were in twenty years ago. And you know what? He’s raised people from the dead, so I’m pretty sure a little organ regeneration is no big thing for God. I don’t just pray that people will feel the presence of God in my church this Sunday, I pray that there will be a seen demonstration of His power in that place. I wanna see fire rain down from heaven, I wanna feel the ground beneath my feet shake as the God of all creation steps into the room!

PRAYER AND CLOSING

Father God, today I come before you asking for big things.  You gave us the Bible, and I love the people that populate it.  I’ve learned so much about prayer as I’ve studied the Bible, and from studying Elisha here I just feel my eyes opened to the vastness of your power.  We always refer to you as a big God, yet when it comes to our lives and our faith it seems like we always have such small ambitions.  So Lord, today, I come before you with some big requests.  I ask that the area I live in will become a known stronghold for you.  This collection of cities, these communities, I ask that your presence will reign so heavily here that people come from far away to experience it.  Establish yourself a place here, Father.  Lord, I ask that you show yourself to people in huge ways this week, in undeniable ways.  Shift the axis of the earth, roll back the hands of time, speak from a burning bush, whatever it takes to draw people to you, Lord.  I pray over everyone I know an audacious new attitude, a sense of power and ambition when it comes to godly things.  Give us a fresh sense of your awe inspiring power, God, give us a new approach to you in prayer.  We don’t want a better marriage, we want the best one, we don’t want to be better parents, we want to be the best ones!  And Lord, with everything, let it all happen in order to show people your glory.  I don’t want big things for myself, I want them so that people can see and know that you are one true God, the Lord of all space and time, and that their place is by your side in your kingdom forever.  Imbue your people with greater power, God, double my anointing, and give me the wisdom and courage to put it to action in this world.  In the precious name of Jesus I pray, amen.

I love you guys.  I’m already seeing God do big things in my life this year and I want to see that in each of you, too.  Start seeking Him on something big, something massive.  Our dad created the universe, guys.  Sometimes we forget that.  If my dad created Google, I wouldn’t be shy about asking for a new car.  What then, shall I ask of my heavenly Father that created all things?

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