Big Hairy Audacious Prayer
by Audra Jennings Monday, July 26, 2010
Q&A with Will Davis Jr.
Author of Faith Set Free
Q: At what point in your own faith walk was the passion for effective prayer ignited in your life?
When I was working on my doctorate, I had two professors (both retired missionaries) who were great men of prayer. They taught me about prayer, introduced me to great books and writers on prayer, and also encouraged me to do my doctoral work on prayer. That was about 1990-1991. I have been a serious student of and believer in prayer ever since. Also, I started praying for my wife to be healed about that time. She witnessed a murder in 1976 and was still struggling with fear because of it. I have watched God heal her since then. That has only deepened my belief in prayer. Today, the church I lead is completely prayer-dependent.
Q: What circumstances caused you to be aware of the void that existed in the believer’s understanding of God’s teaching on prayer and how much our Creator desires this intimate and continuous communication with His children?
Honestly, it was two things. First was listening to my own prayers. I would spend hours in prayer with other Christians and get very convicted that we were not really asking much of God. Our prayers were very safe and vague. The prayers of the Bible are just the opposite—bold and risky. Secondly, as I talked to church leaders, I learned that many were afraid to pray for themselves. They thought it was selfish. And yet King David, Paul, and Jesus were all very serious about praying for themselves. I got convicted that many Christ-followers are limiting God’s work in themselves by not praying more for themselves.
Q: What is the most amazing answer to prayer you have experienced personally? How was your life changed through this experience?
It is hard to nail down just one. Seeing my wife, Susie, healed from fear is one of them. I have also baptized a few agnostics and atheists who no one would have believed would come to faith. They were the direct result of much prayer. Lately, however, God has answered some major prayers for provision for our church. In this bad economy, non-profits have taken a huge hit. We have been counseled to lay off staff and cut back on our giving (we currently give away 25% of our revenues—about a million dollars—and are moving to 50%). We have neither cut staff nor giving, and God has come through miraculously in some very tangible ways. It has been fun to watch. Doing so has only increased my faith.
Q: How can parents teach their children to pray with pinpoint accuracy and not confuse them regarding the timing of God’s answers?
The best way a parent can teach pinpoint praying for a child is to model it. Yes, we should teach them the Bible, but the most effective teacher of prayer is prayer itself. Kids need to hear their parents praying—for them, for provision, for protection, etc. If a kid goes to sleep each night having just been prayed over by his or her parents, that child will believe in prayer and know how to pray well. Regarding answers, parents should look for chances to ask things of God with their child and to teach them as He does or doesn’t respond in their desired timing. NO is as much an answer from God as YES. So we should pray about jobs, money, friends, school, college acceptance, athletics, etc., with our kids. Doing this will give us many opportunities to teach them about how God works.
Q: As pastor of a large and growing congregation, what is your greatest personal challenge to maintain an intimate conversation with God in your prayer life?
I am blessed to have a great team of leaders around me. They lead the church daily so I can seek the Lord in prayer. I really do believe that the primary work of a pastor is to pray (Acts 6:4). Because of that, I have structured my day so I can spend each morning alone in prayer and study. The impact on our church has been obvious. I am truly blessed to have elders, a board of directors, and a staff who support my calling to pray. They see the fruit of it.
About Will Davis Jr:
For more than sixteen years, Will Davis Jr. has served as the founder and senior pastor of the Austin Christian Fellowship church, a nondenominational congregation founded on the basic doctrines of the Bible. This congregation of more than 1,000 believers regularly receives Davis’ challenge for them to pray big—or more specifically, to pray with such focus as to pinpoint their exact needs.
In addition to being the author of six books, Wake-Up Calls, Pray Big, Pray Big for Your Marriage, Pray Big for Your Child, Why Faith Makes Sense, and Faith Set Free, Davis frequently travels and speaks to audiences on the subject of prayer.
Visit Will Davis Jr’s website for more information about his books and his latest blog posts www.willdavisjr.com.
Audra Jennings is Senior Media Specialist at The B & B Media Group. Since 1987, The B & B Media Group, Inc. has used its broadcasting, marketing and advertising experience to provide the specialized and strategic publicity necessary to achieve the public relations goals of each client. The Barnabas Agency, a division of The B & B Media Group, Inc., is a proven provider of exceptional public relations and personal management services for authors, speakers, ministries and organizations.
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