It was definitely a fixer-upper; I refinished the floors, painted, and fumigated – yes, there were roaches. But it was my own space. I didn’t know if I could make it on my own, but I went ahead and did it. I didn’t know the dangers, the responsibility, or see my need to still emotionally rely on my family. But that’s what innovation is.
Innovation is defined as:
- a new idea, device, or method
- The act or process of introducing new ideas, devices, or methods
- Taking a known entity and then redefining its use, process, or engineering
We usually feel the need to innovate when we hit an immovable obstacle in our lives. I have had to innovate many different times in my life, and it is in these moments I learned to believe in prayer.
Here are my directions: Pray much for others; plead for God’s mercy upon them; give thanks for all he is going to do for them.2 Pray in this way for kings and all others who are in authority over us, or are in places of high responsibility, so that we can live in peace and quietness, spending our time in godly living and thinking much about the Lord.
2 Timothy 2:12 TLB
When we slow down and think about God, our obstacles become stepping stones for innovation. God is an innovator. He created the world when it was black and formless. He gave meaning and purpose behind each creation. He gave abilities to adapt situations, deconstruct complex problems and construct solutions that have benefited billions.
Our challenge is we often spend too much time stuck or thinking about ourselves and our problems and not enough time capturing a vision from God the innovator.
Innovation Comes From Prayer
When the Lord God saw the extent of human wickedness, and that the trend and direction of men’s lives were only towards evil, 6 he was sorry he had made them. It broke his heart. he said, “I will blot out from the face of the earth all mankind that I created. Yes, and the animals too, and the reptiles and the birds. For I am sorry I made them.”8 But Noah was a pleasure to the Lord.
Genesis 6:5-8 TLB
The first step in innovating is identifying our obstacles. Spiritually, this scripture says our obstacle is that the natural direction of our lives is toward evil and away from God. We can even take good things and use them for sin. For example relationships that should be encouraging can become about using each other, and talents we’ve been given can become what we use for selfish gain instead of making the world a better place.
The Bible says this breaks God’s heart. At this point humans on earth had become so incredibly filled with evil and depravity God needed to start over. But Noah brought him joy. So God faced the obstacle and called Noah to innovate.
So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. 14 So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out.
Genesis 6:13-14 TLB
God told Noah to build an ark – a large boat – 450 feet long, 45 feet tall, 70 feet wide. Need a visual? Many modern naval engineers use the same ratio when designing naval ships.
By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.
Hebrews 11:7 NIV
When Noah talked to God, God gave him a vision of innovation. That is what a real prayer is like!
The Bible says Noah worked “in holy fear” – meaning he was motivated and focused because of what he had to do. Sometimes in life your “want to” follows your “have to.” Innovation doesn’t always happen just because we want it to – sometimes it happens because we get to a place where we have no other option.
Noah went to work to save his family and it took him close to 100 years to complete the ark. A wealthy dutch man did it with a full construction company – Noah did it with seven other people (including women and children).
In the past, these spirits were disobedient—when God patiently waited during the time of Noah. Noah built an ark in which a few (that is, eight) lives were rescued through water. Baptism is like that. It saves you now — not because it removes dirt from your body but because it is the mark of a good conscience toward God. Your salvation comes through the resurrection of Jesus Christ
1 Peter 3:20-21 CEB
God’s same innovation is what gave us baptism. I believe God has been calling people to build (metaphorical) arks since the time of Noah. Baptism is an ark – an innovative solution that gets us close to God. God gave us the church as an ark. God gives us E-sports as an ark to save those of us who have special needs kids. He give us friendship and family as an ark to save us from loneliness. And he will give us more arks to help us with our specific situations if we will pray to him.
Five Innovative Prayers
There is a quote that says, “A river cuts through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence.” Prayer is like the constant pounding of water, time and time again until finally rock gives way. Prayer is the only way we can get the power and vision to innovate.
“Father, if you are willing, take away this cup of suffering. But do what you want, not what I want.” 43 Then an angel from heaven appeared to him to strengthen him.44 Being full of pain, Jesus prayed even harder. His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
Luke 22:42-44 NCV
Vision is not about what could happen but what must happen. Just because God gives you the innovation, doesn’t mean it happens quickly.
Lazy people don’t pray. We tend to quit too easily and drift too fast from prayer; we will talk to a person longer about things than we will pray about them!
What innovative thing will God do through you to change the world? A heart? A family? A future? Finding the answers to those questions starts with 5 innovative prayers.
1. Honest Prayers
During his life on earth, Jesus prayed to God, who could save him from death. He prayed and pleaded with loud crying and tears, and he was heard because of his devotion to God.8 Although Jesus was the Son of God, he learned to be obedient through his sufferings.
Hebrews 5:7-8 AMP
We might pray through circumstances but not always with emotional honesty. Emotional honesty is when we reveal our inner thoughts and pain, when we are vulnerable and honest. This is how we learn about our true heart, desires and needs.
When you are devoted to God you release your emotions, saying “I can surrender myself to you.” All prayer depends on this kind of surrender.
What do you need to be emotionally honest about?
2. Humble Prayers
What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? 2 You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. 3 And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong — you want only what will give you pleasure.
James 4:13 NLT
The passage doesn’t say you can’t have what you want, but you have to be honest about why you want it. In our pride we would often rather not ask to hide our motives, than be humble and receive.
It’s harder to be humble with God than people. When was the last time you told God you were sorry and lived out that apology with others? It’s easy to say sorry to people and not change what we believe or how we treat them.
If you’re stuck not helping more people, how much are you asking God? If your marriage is not changing, how much are you asking? If you want to own a house, how much are you asking? If you want to get out of debt, how much are you asking?
What do you need to be humble enough to ask God for?
3. Forgiving Prayers
Whenever you pray, forgive anything you have against anyone.Then your Father in heaven will forgive your failures.”
Mark 11:25 GW
It’s hard to forgive when you won’t take responsibility for your own sin and its impact on others. But we will be burdened, alone and filled with distrust when we won’t forgive. We might even pray, but it won’t work because we want God to do something for us that we are not willing to do for others.
Forgiveness means saying “We can be close again, I will trust you again, I will be vulnerable with you again.”
If you are bitter, you don’t need someone to hear you out, you need to take responsibility for your part in the relationship. That’s the only way to get rid of bitterness.
Who do you need to forgive and restore your heart back for?
4. Determined Prayers
Ask and keep on asking and it will be given to you; seek and keep on seeking and you will find; knock and keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you.8 For everyone who keeps on asking receives, and he who keeps on seeking finds, and to him who keeps on knocking, it will be opened.
Matthew 7:7-8 AMP
There are things we have just stopped asking for. Have you ever felt things like:
- No one is going to give me anything
- I’ll take care of myself
- I don’t want to be owned by anyone
- I don’t feel like anyone has my back
These attitudes reflect self-reliance instead of faith and trust. God listens and cares about what we need.
What do you need that you have stopped asking for?
5. God-Centered Prayers
If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. 6 But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone.
James 1:5-6 NLT
… A person who has doubts shouldn’t expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 A person who has doubts is thinking about two different things at the same time and can’t make up his mind about anything.
James 1:7-8 GW
Do you think God says no more times than he says yes? The Bible says the opposite – God is generous! We need to change our view of God if we don’t see him correctly. Generous means lavish, openhanded, abundant, plentiful, charitable, unselfish.
God may say no sometimes, but he isn’t saying don’t ask. We don’t know how God’s answers all work together with the billion other people who are asking for the same things we are – sometimes you just might have to wait a little bit.
But he does and he has said yes far more times than he has said no or not yet.
We all have our mountains and we need God’s help to move them. When you believe in what you pray for, you wait and search for God’s answer.
Prayers that are honest, humble, forgiving, determined and God centered change the world.
“I’m not praying only for them. I’m also praying for those who will believe in me through their message.21 I pray that all of these people continue to have unity in the way that you, Father, are in me and I am in you. I pray that they may be united with us so that the world will believe that you have sent me.
John 17:20-21 GW
Jesus’ prayers changed the world. Do yours? Pick one of the innovative prayers to work on this week.