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Bold prayer #3: Use me

In the Bible when God called people, not everyone responded the same way.  So let's look at three possible ways we can respond to God’s call which will then lead us to our third bold prayer.

For some, maybe you’re like Jonah. Jonah said, "Here I am.  I’m not going."  

Jonah 1:1-3 God called Jonah to go west to Nineveh and serve him, but Jonah ran east and then gets on a ship to go further east. 

I wonder how many of us have sensed God prompting us to do something, to give something to serve, but have either not responded/ignored his call or have said no and done your own thing.

Or I wonder how many times God wants to tell us to do something but we are too busy, too preoccupied with our own plans to even hear him?  Maybe the way we ignore God and run from him is by staying busy so we can’t even hear God.

Others of you are more like Moses.  "Here I am.  Send someone else."  

The people of God were in bondage in Egypt and God appeared to Moses in a burning bush and said, Exodus 3:10-11. Come I will send you to Pharoah that you may bring my people, the children of Israel out of Egypt.  But Moses said, Great I will gladly go right now.  NOT.  But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharoah and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?

So God explained that he will be with him, Look how Moses responded in Ex. 4:1 But what if they won’t believe me or listen to my voice for they will say the LORD did not appear to you.

So God reassured him again but notice what he said in Ex 4:10 But Moses said to the LORD, “Oh my LORD, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.”

God called Moses but each time Moses can only see his own inadequacies and deficiencies and he makes excuses why God cannot use him.

I wonder how many of us have a big view of our own inadequacies and short-comings and a small view of God? 

I can’t serve you God b/c I don’t have enough money.  I can’t because I don’t have enough time.  I can’t b/c I’m not good at serving kids.  I can’t b/c ____________. 

Here I am I’m not going.  Here I am send someone else. Here's a third possible response when God calls.

The name of this person is Isaiah.  He was a Jew and he lived 700 years before the birth of Jesus.   God called him and says, “Isaiah I want to use you I have something for you to do.  Check out his response:

Isaiah 6:8  And I heard the voice of the LORD saying, Whom shall I send and who will go for us?  Then I (Isaiah) said, “Here I am!  Send me. 

No running the other way.  No excuses.  He simply prays, “Here I am God, Use me.” I’m yours God, use all of me and send me wherever you want me to go. Use my time, use my life and my resources all for your purposes.  What an amazing response!  That is the prayer of a person fully surrendered to God.

What do we need to be fully surrendered to God?  Look briefly at Is 6:1-7 to see 3 things needed to be fully surrendered to God:

We need a genuine experience of the presence of God.

Isaiah 6:1-4.

Isaiah had a genuine experience of the presence of God and as a result of this he was willing to be fully surrendered to God and pray LORD here I am use me.

Maybe the reason you and I struggle to be fully devoted to God today is that it’s been awhile since you experienced the presence of God or maybe you never encountered God’s presence.

If we’re going to be fully surrendered to God and pray “God here I am Use me”, we need a genuine experience of God’s presence.

Now we can’t make God show up but he says James 4:7-8 If you draw near to God he will draw near to you.  This means putting yourself in a position to encounter him. 

God wants to reveal himself to you.  Will you draw near to God?   

In order to be fully surrendered to God we also need a genuine experience of our sinfulness.  Notice his response. V.5  Woe is me!  For I am lost a man of unclean lips and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.  For my eyes have seen the King the LORD of hosts!

When we encounter the holiness of God we see how unholy we are

People will say, "he is so good" or "she is good" "you’re so good".  Listen: Apart from God we are sinful, unrighteous, unholy people.  Wow thanks for that encouragement. 

And unless we admit and confess our sins then we can never experience God’s solution.

But notice the third thing.  In order to be fully surrendered to God we need a genuine experience of God’s grace.

But notice what God did next.  This is beautiful.

Check out vv. 6-7 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar.  And he touched my mouth and said: behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, your sin atoned for.”

In the temple in the OT there was to be fire that burned continually.  This fire represented the wrath of God for sin.  God’s opposition to our sin is his wrath.  So this coal comes from the fire that burned in the temple and it represents God’s wrath toward Isaiah’s sin.

But notice too, the altar in the temple was also the place where the Holy God accepted and was satisfied by the blood sacrifices that were offered.  So this hot coal from the altar not only represented God wrath for sin but also the atoning sacrifices for sin forgiveness, cleansing and reconciliation needed by his people. 

This single coal is God’s means of grace for Isaiah.  And with one touch Isaiah is forgiven.

For us today Jesus Christ is the single once and for all atoning sacrifice for our sins.  And with one touch from Jesus you can be forgiven.

Your sarcastic lips –forgiven

Your lying lips – forgiven

Your selfish attitude - forgiven

Your lustful thoughts – forgiven

Your angry outbursts – forgiven

Your secret sins that no one knows about but God – forgiven

The Bible says When we confess our sins he is faithful and just to cleanse us of our sins and forgive us from all unrighteousness.

To be fully surrendered to God you and I need a genuine encounter with God’s grace.

After encountering God’s holy presence and encountering his own sinfulness he experiences God’s grace He says God here I am I am yours send me use me all I have is yours. 

Can you imagine if we pray this prayer LORD here I am Use me, use my time, use all my money use all my gifts they are yours I am yours LORD use me however you want, wherever you want, whenever you want what God might do in and thru us?