Big Hairy Audacious...
DATE POSTED: 01/30/2017  |     |   Category: Friend to Friend

A few years back I was reading a book by Will Davis entitled Pray Big. In it he talked about a concept he called a Big Hairy Audacious Prayer. Davis got the idea from a book Jim Collins wrote entitled Built to Last. In Collins’ book he spoke of companies that lasted well beyond the founding leader’s tenure. While Collins listed several key attributes of each company, one characteristic stood out from all the rest – a Big Hairy Audacious Goal. The goal or dream was so big that it required every employee’s belief and best efforts for the company to have any chance of making it a reality. Will Davis used that concept and applied it to prayer.

Davis challenged his readers to think outside the box and to remember the attributes of God. We are to remember the words of Ephesians 3:20-21,

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.

Think about the words immeasurably, and more than we can ask or imagine. Those are truly outside our reality of human thinking. They are Big Hairy Audacious Words (BHAW).

These Big Hairy Audacious Words translated into a Big Hairy Audacious Event for me about 10 years ago while I was pastoring in Bonham, Texas. Our church was going through a period of growth and we were in need of more space. Across the street from the church was the home of Miss Lillian, a retired military nurse. She was old school. Because of her military background, she was strongly committed to doing things by the book. When she said something she meant it and there was no changing her mind. Miss Lillian had never married. She loved Billy Graham and gave significant money to him and to our church. Because her physical health had declined, she was living in a state VA nursing home. She was restricted to the bed and her condition was getting worse.

Her closest friends were a couple who cared for her and went to see her regularly. Over the years we had been talking to the caregivers and Miss Lillian about buying her house. Actually we had sent several people to talk to her and her caregivers about purchasing her property. Each person who went to see her was told that she would sell the house to the church only after she had died. The price was always the same $24,000. At that point in our church’s ministry we didn’t have these funds available. The need for additional space became so desperate that Ray, our administrator, and I were commissioned by the church to offer her $24,000 and see what she said. We checked with her caregiver friends who said the time was right to broach the subject, so we headed to the nursing home. Ray and I shared with Miss Lillian about our need to expand and provide space for Sunday School and small groups. We told with her we were prepared to buy her property. It was at that point that she did something unimaginable and audacious. She said, “I want to give you the property.” I couldn’t believe it! I asked for clarification – I was so dumbfounded. Everyone present affirmed what I had heard. I was speechless – in fact I started to cry. It was a very emotional moment for me for Miss Lillian had given her largest earthly possession to our church.

This was a dream that only God could fulfill. He had changed Miss Lillian’s heart. He had answered our prayers regarding the property. He had provided above and beyond what we expected – the unimaginable and audacious.

As you move into the second month of 2017 let me encourage you to do some things that will help you to achieve God’s Big Hairy Audacious Prayer, Dream or Goal.

  1. Take some time away to dream and pray.
  2. Read God’s Word to see examples of the extraordinary.
  3. Make a list of things that you would like to see accomplished this year. Make sure that some of those things are goals or dreams that only God could fulfill.
  4. Identify three or four that resonate with you.
  5. Pray about these Big Hairy Audacious Dreams.
  6. Partner with God to develop steps in achieving one of the dreams.
  7. Continue to pray about the dream with others.
  8. Work the steps.
  9. Invite others to pursue the dream with you.
  10. Celebrate as God makes the Big Hairy Audacious Dream, Prayer, Goal a reality.


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