Teaching Series

Authentic Prayer from James MacDonald (Day 3 of 7)

Today’s Scripture:  Exodus 3:10-11

10  Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt.

11  And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?


I just finished writing the message that was to be posted yesterday, but I feel like waiting on the Lord for more was the right thing to do…which is why I didn’t finish the message until this morning.  I believe it was probably the best message of this series…and it might actually be the best message in this series.  So…I may even return to read it myself a few times…but we’ll see how much more comes as we continue this series.

Today, we take a look at Moses.  I’m ready to get right into today’s message.  So…let’s do it.

Today’s Message:  “Moses’ Vertical Call”

When I hear the name Moses, I picture a giant in faith with a long grey beard and weary eyes as he stands on a mountain with arms outstretched. I revere that vision of Moses, but I resonate more deeply with the Moses of early Exodus. Rash and aggressive, younger Moses tried to accomplish his calling in the flesh, ending quickly with a corpse buried in the sand. Forty years later God gave Moses a second chance but he seemed stuck on lesson one: “I can’t.”

Do you know why it took God a decade before I was ready and able to step into the vocation in which He called me to?  I was stuck on lesson one:  I didn’t believe I could.  I was stuck looking at myself through the mirror of the world, and my own eyes.  I saw my life, and thought that because I wasn’t born with a silver spoon, I didn’t live a life of holiness, and in fact I was anything but holy…although I knew God was calling me, and I knew the Word spoke of how God used the foolish things of the world to confound the wisdom of the wise…I still found myself stuck on saying:  “I can’t”.

Not long after I started writing…I found myself reading people’s blogs and thinking the same thing about my ability to write.   I found myself again looking at my qualifications, and felt disqualified to do what God was calling me to do.  My posts don’t look like the posts of others who have been professionally trained as journalists and writers.  They were full of grammatical and spelling errors, and the more I looked at other people’s blogs I again found myself stuck thinking that I can’t do what these people do.

Then…I read something that clicked, and I haven’t looked back since.  “God doesn’t call the qualified…He qualifies the called.” is the statement that God used to snap my attention back upon Him and off of my abilities.  In fact, He began to explain that the authenticity of what I write, even the grammatical and spelling errors is part of what makes me different.  And…of course He also said to me that if I wanted a professional I would’ve called a professional…but I called you.

It’s been almost a year, and while I still see errors in my posts that don’t get noticed in those proofreader’s don’t catch, but I hope that you guys can at least get where I’m going and understand what I’m saying.  However, what I’ve noticed is that the Holy Spirit has taken my willingness to embrace and answer God’s call…and He’s been the One to teach me how to get better.  My posts are getting better and so is my ability to write…because I’m not relying upon my own ability…I’m relying upon the Holy Ghost to teach me. 

I tell you all this because there’s been a transformation in my thinking to “I can’t” to “as long as God shows me…I can.”  I’ve come to understand that I really can do all things through Christ, and that includes writing messages that I never really thought I could write…until I began writing.

See…that’s the key.  I know there are a lot of you who are reading these messages that know and sense that God’s called you to use your gifts and talents for His work, but you like Moses and I are stuck looking at them through your own eyes…and yourself saying:  “I can’t.”.  You’re right…you can’t…but if you’ll surrender to God…and allow Him to teach you…you’ll be able to do things that will blow your mind.

I’m not one to toot my own horn or pat myself on the back, but there are times when I’ll re-read a message I’ve written to find myself stunned that what I’m reading came from me.  Then, I find myself being thankful that I didn’t wait 40 years to respond to God’s calling upon my life…I only waited 38…and now that I’m doing what God’s called me to do…I entrust the results to Him…and I also entrust my development as a writer to Him as well.  After all…He gave me the gift…and I realize that the only way for it to be perfected…is to give it back to Him…and not try to do this in my flesh…because when I do…I’m no where near as good a writer as I am when I allow Him to take over.

In Exodus 3, God appeared to Moses “in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush” (v.2) that burned but was not consumed. In response to God’s call, Moses refused to be God’s messenger of deliverance, wallowing in his own inadequacy. I’ve done that too; have you?

As you have just read…I most certainly wallowed in my own inadequacy for years.  I told you that I knew as far back as 1999 that I wasn’t supposed to be just a church pew warmer, but that God had something for me to do.  I found out more in 2001, but I just started writing in 2012…after having Him speak that it was time for me to get serious about being serious about Him…and that included serving Him.

For a decade I knew I was called, but like Moses did I allowed myself to wallow in my inadequacy.  I allowed the devil to tell me that I was disqualified because of my life, because I’m a felon, and because there’s so much dirt and filth in my past that there’s no way I could be of any use to the Kingdom of God…and you know what…for the better part of a decade…I believed that I was disqualified…and that’s why it took me 11 years before I began writing.

Before I began writing this message I saw this quote on Facebook from A.W Tozer, and while I was making my lunch…I felt the Lord impress it upon my heart to include it in today’s message, and therefore without any hesitation…here’s what A.W. Tozer said that applies to what I’m talking about right now.

True faith requires that we believe everything God has said about Himself, but also that we believe everything He has said about us. Until we believe that we are as bad as God says we are, we can never believe that He will do for us what He says He will do.

This is why our prayer lives suffer.  I believe that we believe what God says about us is all bad, but when He says that we’re bad that doesn’t mean that we’re unqualified to serve Him or approach Him in prayer.  In fact, He means just the opposite.

Listen.  If I were to try to write a message like this on my own…I’ve no doubt in my mind that it would be bad.  It wouldn’t flow, it wouldn’t make much sense, and in all reality even though I kind of had the ability to write all my life…my ability is at it’s best when I realize that Jesus said that apart from abiding in Him I can do nothing.

I need God’s help writing these messages because I can’t do it on my own strength and ability.  I’ve tried to write stuff without God’s help, and let me just say that you should be grateful that I never posted any of the stuff I wrote during those times.  I identify with this point:  “Rash and aggressive, younger Moses tried to accomplish his calling in the flesh, ending quickly with a corpse buried in the sand.”

That’s exactly what happened when I tried writing messages without the anointing and unction of the Holy Ghost…they fell flat, and had no power, no flow, and like I said you should be glad that none of those messages ever made it to be published because they stunk…and I’m the first to admit that I’m extremely grateful that the Holy Spirit helps me with these messages because without Him…my messages would still stink.

I spent the first two years of college refusing to be a pastor, in fear I would lack the patience and the perseverance with people. I also resisted God about starting a church from scratch, as I feared I would end up preaching to twelve people around a card table. I understand Moses’ initial refusal to do a big job. But God pressed in as He does with all of us. In the end God’s greatest provision for Moses’ or my or your sense of inadequacy is simply and profoundly His presence with us. The answer to Moses’ persistent pattern of “I can’t” was not “Yes, you can, Moses” but “I can, I will, I AM.” – Dr. James MacDonald

Listen, reading Dr. James MacDonald’stestimony here encourages me because it helps to know that I’m not the only one who struggled to embrace the call of God.  I’m not the only one who was afraid and felt disqualified for one reason or another.  I’m not the only one who felt inadequate to fulfill what God wants to do in and through my life…and I hope this message is an encouragement to you to know that you’re not alone, either.

I spent the last 10 years refusing to believe that I was a pastor or that I could be of any good to the Kingdom of God at all.  I refused to believe that I could be of any Heavenly good to anyone.  I was certain that no one would listen to me or be helped by anything I have to say or that God would want to use me to say anything.

How wrong I was…and the message to you today…is you are wrong too.  Once I got down in my heart that God doesn’t call the qualified…He qualifies the called…it changed my way of thinking.  It change my mindset, and it helped me to understand that the reason I was qualified to do what God called me to do is because He gave me the ability, and if He gave me the ability than He would see to it that my ability was developed and furthermore…the only way for my ability to be developed is to begin to use it.

Now…well over 200 messages and 200 followers later…I’m doing what God’s called me to do.  It’s nowhere near perfect, and I am no where near perfect either.  I’ve worked extremely hard at allowing God’s view of me to overtake my own view of myself…and let me be candid…there are many times that my own views of myself still get in the way of allowing God to do all that He can and wants to do through me…but those are the times where I have to take myself to the throne of grace…and seek God’s face.

Again…authentic prayer isn’t about some greatly eloquently spoken prayer.  Authentic prayer is that time that’s just between you and God.  It’s that time when you can get alone from the world, and just get before God.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said to God;  “Lord, I have no idea how in the world you can use me.  I don’t even know how to see myself the way You do.  Please help me to see myself through Your eyes.”.

Authentic prayer as I said yesterday is about you being real with yourself and God, and just talking to Him from the heart.  Talking to Him knowing that He hears you…because He does…and don’t try to let the religious world tell you He can’t hear you over your sin.  That’s a lie.  If you’re His…then He’s not counting your sins against you…you’re reconciled to Him…and there’s nothing wrong with His ears…He can hear you just fine.

So…talk to Him.  Tell Him that you’re having trouble embracing what He wants you to do because you can’t see yourself the way He does, and ask Him to help you to see yourself in the light and way in which He sees you.  He’ll honor and answer that prayer…and the reason I know He will…is because He does so for me.

Be A Doer…Not Just A Reader:

Today’s assignment is the same as yesterday’s.  Start having a conversation with God.  Imagine that God is saying to you right now:  “Hey, it’s God.  How are you doing?  What’s on your mind?”  It’s okay to tell Him, and it’s okay to talk to Him however you need to talk to Him.  He’s ready to listen.  Remember His words to Jeremiah…if you seek Me…you will find Me…but only if you seek Me with your whole heart.”  So…seek Him with your whole heart today…and tell Him how you’re doing today…and go on from there.


What a series.  I’m so glad you guys and gals voted for this series.  It’s been really good so far, and we’re only half way in.  I hope this is encouraging and helpful to you.  I hope my personal story may help some of you stop sitting on the sidelines…and get into the fight.  In this day and age…we really need all hands on deck…and we need to stop being afraid to approach God because we don’t feel we’re adequate…we are…because Jesus made us adequate, Jesus made us holy, and Jesus gave us the right to approach the throne of grace to obtain mercy and grace in our time of need.

So…let’s go to God in prayer right now…and close out this message.


Father, I confess that my first instinct is to refuse Your call and even try to run away. I realize that I’m stuck sometimes in fearful, horizontal thinking and forget that You invite me to look at everything from Your vertical point of view. Help me remember that Your call always comes with whatever else I need to do and be what You ask of me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

You are God’s