Gospel Centered Dreams & Prayers
“And I pray that you... may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
– from Colossians 3:18-21
God wants us to pray. But he wants our prayers that have particular characteristics that reflect his power and the abundance that he wants to give. This is not a prosperity gospel – which is self-focused – but one that is looking to God, and asking him to show off.
The Bible says that people without vision are unrestrained. This ‘vision’ is not talking about you dreaming up a plan and a packet or something on your website. In this case, it’s talking about a biblically-based dream; a gospel dream.
There are two types of dreams that exist: a pipe dream and a gospel dream.
I like the Urban Dictionary a lot – it has some funny definitions. According to that website, a pipe dream is “a vain dream that will never happen given the harsh reality” or “a fantastic but vain hope from fantasies induced by getting high.” There are more: an illusion, chasing rainbows, etc.
Some of us have pipe-dream prayer lives because our passions are not gospel-centered. Our dreams are not centered on Jesus.
Gospel Centered Dreams
How do you know if your dream is gospel-centered?
This is what it looks like:
- You are in a context, looking around, “incarnating.”
- You see the gap between
a. God’s vision for what things look like with Jesus’ feet on top of that context versus
b. Where that context actually is (Acts 17:16)
- You are able to insert the cross as that which bridges the gap – that’s where your strategy, your philosophy, and your practice of ministry comes from.
This is where your vision comes from.
A gospel-centered dream and prayer is centered on Jesus as the eternal reality. Colossians 3:1 says “keep your mind on things above” – in other words, you need to have a divine imagination. This imagination is based on the heart of God, and you should be wanting to see God bring sneak previews and commercials of the eternal kingdom to where you will live and dwell.
Get Drunk on God
It has to happen in us first. You can’t pray about what you haven’t experienced. Many times we wish for our context things that the gospel hasn’t done in us yet. And we have to be deeply impacted by the reality of the gospel ourselves. Gospel-centered dreams flow from experiencing the regenerative work of the gospel.
We have to get under the control of God the Father. When Paul prays for the Colossians that they “be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God,” he is talking about being under the control or influence of God. We are not to be “filled with wine” but “the fullness of God.” Let who God is get to you so that it rocks you and blows you away – so that as you look at his eternal triceps, you realize “God is smokin’!” Then, you pray in light of this knowledge, and you pray a gospel-dream to a God who is able to do more than we ask or imagine.
Eric will be speaking on Enduring Hope at the Houston Boot Camp next month. See details or register here.