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I can’t say “Thank you!” enough to Hollywood Prayer Network founding director, Karen Covell, who wrote the Foreword for my new book, Get Prayer and Get It All. Thanks to Karen and others, Hollywood is no longer afraid to touch on Christian themes. 

Imagine if you could use only three words to script the movie of your life. What three words would you choose? 

To begin, what do you call it when everybody else disappears and you’re all alone? When it’s just you and God? 

1. Desperation

In the life of faith, desperation is the moment when you lose hope in man-made solutions to the big issues of life. You suddenly realize you have a God-sized problem. 

The central chapter in my new book is titled, “Get Prayer and Get Desperation.” You would think readers would want to skip that chapter. Instead, so far I’ve received the most thanks for that particular chapter. Why? Because it’s true to life.

Desperation became a mega-word in my vocabulary when I realized God wants all that I am for all of Him at all times—both the good and the desperate times. 

Desperation is an extremely dangerous moment in the human heart. Anyone who has been there knows a fine line exists between desperation that leads to despair (and self-destruction) and desperation that leads to faith and life.

For all of its perils, desperation remains the greatest prize of the faith life, the point of decision or choosing. It’s the turning point. 

I see the vocabulary of desperation embedded in two familiar, biblical one-word prayers. We all know them, yet I think of them as the secret passwords of faith. After all, they are the foundation of all real prayer. The first one-word prayer?

2. Mercy!

Consider the power and the hope in the cry “Mercy!” called out to a merciful God. Over and over again, the psalmist David runs into God’s arms equipped only with this one-word prayer. Not surprisingly, it reverberates throughout the rest of the Scriptures. 

  • The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer (Psalm 6:9).
  • It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy (Romans 9:16).
  • Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy (1 Peter 2:10-11).

“Mercy!” is the cry of my heart before the cross of Jesus Christ, knowing I have done nothing to justify His reckless, crazy love.

“Mercy!” is the desperate faith cry that abandons every human resource and throws itself upon God’s riches.

“Mercy!” is the miracle of miracles delivered to our lives in a single-word prayer.

At our point of desperation, God promises to answer the prayer for “Mercy!” and sets us up for our second one-word prayer.

3. Abba!

“Abba!” is both a prayer and a declaration.  

The “Abba” prayer is specifically enabled by the Holy Spirit to break the enemy’s claim on your life and establish God’s ownership. So, Abba is a redeeming prayer.

Abba redeems your experience of desperation, giving it meaning and establishing your new identity and all the resources that go with it.

  • The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children (Romans 8:15).
  • Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir (Galatians 4:6).

As seen in Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son, “Abba!” declares we are leaving the pit of despair, only to discover the Father is joyously restoring our fellowship as His son or daughter.

“Abba!” is the declaration of a heart set finding refuge and acceptance as a beloved son or daughter.

No one else but the Holy Spirit can teach us this prayer, and no one else but the Father can answer it.

In just two words—“Mercy!” and “Abba!”—desperation and prayer are joined to bring God’s kingdom to ours heart and to fill every part of our life with His love and provision.

What about you? Are you experiencing desperation? Do you ever feel as if you’re all alone? That’s it’s just you and God? If so, pray “Mercy!” If so, pray “Abba!” Don’t wait another minute. 

Even if everything looks black, God has not abandoned you. The worse you feel, the more urgent it is. Pray!

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