The Elephant in the Room
Pray, Until Your Heart is Empty and See God Move!
by Renée Burkett
Copyright: 4/14/16 All Rights Reserved. No duplication or any form of copying is allowed according to US copyright laws. This is a 10-part series. For more information contact the author at: [email protected]. Thank you.
Pray and Receive Answers for the Greatest Challenges in Your Life by Using the Word of God!
Thank you for your incredible courage. Today, you’re here, you’re reading this because you want to see a change. You want the Elephant in the room to disappear, go away, be gone. Perhaps your current Elephant is the waywardness of a child that has wearied your heart and caused great consternation in your life. Perhaps your Elephant is the circumstances you find yourself in, an awful job, terrible commute with a frustrating end means. Perhaps you are like me, you’ve dreamed of living one life while living an entirely different life, one you never imagined you would live and you don’t know how to find your way to the new place.
Whatever brought you here, is your Elephant in the room. Thank you for noticing it! Thank you for no longer turning your back and just accepting things as they are. Thank you because although you may not know exactly what to do, you are no longer willing to side step the Elephant in the middle of the room. Thank you because you heard this call to prayer and you believe something good can happen, or at least you hope so and that is why you are here.
This book has 10 learning modules to assist you in praying until your heart is empty and there is nothing left to pray and you see the victory.
Why to pray until? God has already put inside of each of us everything we need to pray and act upon to see this situation resolve.
A Journal and what I’m asking from you if you are doing this journey in a small group.
So, you each know why you’re here. In our space, everything is sacred. We are not here to tell each other our stuff. I’m convinced the reason many people don’t ask for prayer about the really hard stuff is b/c they can’t trust others in the church to keep a secret. The thing is, we don’t have to tell our secrets. God knows and He’s enough. However, writing about it and how things change will be a great encouragement and also a way to express what you really need to self-express.
I’m asking from you to not divulge your secret Elephant. Instead, what I’m asking from you is to write down your journey and at the end of these ten modules, hand in same thoughts about what happened. What changed. What you struggled with.. I would like to write your notes in my book. I will change your names and therefore if you write anything that you worry is too personal, no one will know. However, I’m not asking you to tell me anything secret, that you don’t want to, that belongs to you. If this works, (as I believe it will), you can tell others so they can see answers to prayers they’ve not dared to pray.
And that is where I begin my back story and where we begin our journey.
Module One: The Inspiration for this Book, The Back Story
Several months ago I was invited to an evening of praise and worship at a friend’s church in another town. I said yes. And so showed up at the appropriate time and began with the congregation an evening of joyful worship. I knew I was supposed to be there, since I had the inner nudging of my heart to go to the event, but I did not know beyond that what soon would become apparent.
After every few songs of worship and praise or a worship dance number which I thoroughly enjoyed, someone would step up to a microphone and tell their story of how God gave them a victory in their life. The stories were inspirational and faith building testifying to the greatness of our God and His intervention in our modern day lives. But one story in particular jumped out at me, and the subsequent telling of it here, will set up our faith and our call to empty our own hearts in prayer.
A middle aged man walked up to the microphone about half way through the evening, after an especially jubilant series of worship choruses. There was nothing exceptionally noticeable about the man, but he began to talk about his life and how he had been an alcoholic for years and years. This is what he said. He told how he got drunk every day. He worked several miles from his home. Every day after work, he would get in his car and on his way home, there was a beer and wine store where he would stop. He bought several cans of beer and began drinking them immediately on the drive home. By the time he arrived home, he was already half drunk. He ate dinner and kept drinking and by evening, he would be stupid drunk, incapable of doing anything, holding a conversation or anything else, so he would fall into bed, wake up the next morning, go to work and repeat the whole thing all over.
His wife had gone to their pastor at the time or perhaps a counselor, I don’t remember what he said for part of the time I was only half listening, but I heard the man at the microphone tell how the pastor had asked his wife if she had prayed for the man. His wife said, “Yes.” She had. The pastor said, “Have you really prayed?” The wife repeated, “Yes. I have prayed as you asked.” The pastor asked the lady, “Have you prayed until your heart is empty?” The woman said, “No.” The pastor said, “Go home and pray until your heart is empty.” The lady said, “Okay,” went home and life continued on as usual.
The tipping point was this, a daughter of this husband and wife was going to college in a southern state. The couple had planned on packing up the daughter’s things in a U-Haul and driving her and her belongings to her destination, unpacking her and then going from there to a port of call where they had tickets to take a cruise for their own wedding anniversary.
They had load a moving truck filled with their daughter’s things drive it to the destination, unpack it, then take their own suitcases and travel to the port where they were leaving from on the cruise.
So, the evening before they had to leave arrived. A few friends came over and the man, the lady and the friends started packing the truck.
Unfortunately, the man testifying said how he got so drunk, he was flat out on the floor, so the friends picked him up and carried him to bed. They helped the lady finish filling the truck, then everyone left and went home and the lady was left alone with a dead drunk and in need of getting up at 6 o’clock in the morning and leaving to drive. So, instead of going to bed herself, she began to pray and she prayed and she prayed all night long, until she couldn’t pray any more. Then it was time to get her husband up. So she did. He got up. The wife gave him some coffee to drink. The two got ready, left and drove to their southerly destination. Spending a few days with their daughter, they unpacked the truck and then left to travel to the port of call for their own vacation on the cruise ship.
The cruise was a several day cruise and during the cruise the man told how he only drank water and soda pop. When the cruise was over, the couple drove all the way up north to their own home. On the following work week, the man went to work. He worked all day as he always had done. At the end of the day he got in his car to drive home. As he drove past the beer and wine store, it suddenly occurred to him, he hadn’t had a drink of beer or any kind of alcohol for several days and he realized, he was delivered form the addiction. He kept on driving. At the telling of his story at the praise and worship evening he said it had been a dozen years and he was still free from alcoholism. Praise God!
What leapt on the inside of me was the call to action and the remembrance of my own times of prayer for certain family members where I saw remarkable results.
My own story about a family member’s dramatic change through emptying my heart in prayer.
I am sharing this second story with you, because I am the recipient of results like this lady had for her husband. Perhaps it’s important to tell another story to show how God will answer the prayers of His children when we come to Him. Even though I didn’t know at the time what I was doing, or how to do it, I just felt such a desire to pray. And that desire was, like an Elephant standing in the middle of a living room, unavoidable.
Years ago when I was a late teen, I had gone away to school for a few years. Through various obstacles and encounters, I came back to my home town unclear what was the next step for me. All I knew, was for then, I felt comfortable living at home and being close to family. During that time, I poured the Word of God into my life, because I was for a while feeling pretty lost and without direction. But as the days passed, living again in close proximity to family members, one thing loomed in front of me and that was the anger and hostility I saw in a certain family member almost on a daily basis. In some ways it was hard to deal with and some thinking people may have said, “Why didn’t you just move?” But there was another piece to it.
I would find myself longing to pray for this individual with a deep concern and a strong urgency I had never experienced before. It was an unusual time in my life. When most young adults were out making their way in the world, I had returned home, in some ways temporarily feeling defeated in my own career path, but at the same time, sensing a new day was coming and I was to be still and wait on the Lord.
At the time I felt an intense desire to pray, I had a job with afternoon and evening hours and so I was alone in the house in the mornings after everyone else left for work. It was then that I found myself day after day, down on the floor, sometimes on my knees, sometimes on my belly, sometimes holding onto an item of clothing belonging to this family member and crying out to God for this one’s deliverance and freedom.
This family member was saved, and in fact had been for many years, but with little improvement in their quality of life and little improvement in their ability to communicate well, to have joy, to live at peace. I sensed a great battle inside of them and the only thing I knew to do was to pray. And so I found myself, morning after morning face down, asking for help, deliverance and salvation from this one’s inner turmoil.
What happened over the course of time had little to do with me and everything to do with the Lord. I had asked the Lord to use me there. Some mornings I would find myself looking up scriptures and reciting scriptures aloud on my family member’s behalf. Other days I would find myself groaning like a woman giving birth, a few times, I would go to their closet and lay my hands on clothing. One day, I distinctly remember touching all of the shoes in that closet as I prayed. At some point, the longing to pray for this individual ceased. A few months later, I decided to move out west and attend a two-year Bible school program hoping to gain more insight and help in my own life.
When I returned home for a visit several months later, I met that same family member after their day’s work, except for the fact that they looked primarily the same, but in action they were utterly unrecognizably different; meek, though once brash, loving, kind and patient thought once angry and filled with quick fired response. This person had changed so dramatically. It was like they never were the other person. Now clearly filled with love, when before, finding a warm spot within was often difficult.
All these years later at the praise and worship evening, when the man testified of his own deliverance because his wife had prayed until her heart was empty, I realized that is what I had done for my family member. My own heart leapt within me and I knew I had a job to do about the current Elephant(s) in my room.
So it is on that premise that this book was born.
I must note, God is no respecter of persons. What he has done for others he will do for you! Having the boldness, the desire to go to Him, that’s the first necessity. Secondarily, yielding to Him to pray through you will be life changing!
Action: Write in your journal: 1. Who or what is your current Elephant? (Keep this to yourself or share with a trusted friend.)2. What is your reaction to the idea that God can do the absolute-life-changing miraculous through your prayers?