Megachurch pastor challenges Americans’ ‘easy’ Christianity, urges ‘dangerous’ prayers

Life.Church Pastor Craig Groeschel preaching a sermon on “dangerous prayers” on Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020. | Screengrab: YouTube/Life.Church

A megachurch pastor and bestselling author has challenged American Christians to abandoned an “easy” version of their beliefs and pray “dangerous” prayers instead.

In the final part of a sermon series titled “Dangerous Prayers” that was preached on Sunday, Life.Church pastor Craig Groeschel implored people to pray for God to “break my heart.”

Groeschel labeled it “the most dangerous prayer,” telling his congregation that they “probably won’t like this prayer” and some will “refuse to pray” it.

“It is not a common prayer, it is not an easy prayer,” he said at the beginning of his message. “It doesn’t match the normal safe prayers that many of us pray.”

“It’s not consistent with the ‘God should make your life easy’ version of Americanized popularized Christianity.”

Groeschel said he “likes the easy prayers and it’s OK to pray them,” citing examples of prayers for good meals, green traffic lights, well-behaved kids, and “no zits on the important days.”

Nevertheless, Groeschel advocated for the breaking of heart prayer, stressing that “following Jesus was never meant to be safe.”

“God, break my heart,” said Groeschel, who added that he wanted God to “crush it” and to “strip me of comfort, ease, and spiritual apathy.”

Groeschel went on to suggest that “God’s greatest blessings come from God’s greatest breakings,” asking “what if the very most special blessings from God come on the other side of the pain that moves you out of self to care about people on His behalf?”

“What would happen if God really broke your heart to the things that break His?” he asked the congregation. “What if God blessed you with a heavenly burden, a divine burden, a holy hurt?”

Groeschel felt that this breaking and “holy hurt” was beneficial to a person, because “comfort never once moved me to action.”

Groeschel’s comments on Sunday were part of a three-week sermon series titled “Dangerous Prayers,” which was centered on learning to pray with boldness.

This included not only for God to break a believer’s heart, but also to search their hearts and motives and also to send them out to meet the needs of other people. 

In the first part of the sermon series, preached on Feb. 9, Groeschel admitted to his congregation that he has oftentimes felt like he did not do a good enough job praying.

“I’ve often felt like a prayer failure,” he said. “Some people, you intimidate me. You’re like ‘hey, let’s get together and pray for like an hour.’ I’m like, ‘let’s not.’”

“Honestly, there have been times when I get very bored praying. Like I’m bored. I’m thinking God’s bored when I’m praying sometimes. Like all you’re praying is the same old routine, kind of prayer rut. I think that’s a big problem for a lot of us.”

Groeschel suggested that “maybe at the root of it for some of us, the biggest problems would be that our prayers are just too safe, predictable, mundane, rote.”

The sermon series came the same month of the release of Groeschel’s latest book, Dangerous Prayers: Because Following Jesus Was Never Meant to Be Safe.

“This book will show you how to pray the prayers that search your soul, break your habits, and send you to pursue the calling God has for you,” explained the book’s description on Amazon.

“But be warned: if you’re fine with settling for what’s easy, or you’re OK with staying on the sidelines, this book isn’t for you. You’ll be challenged. You’ll be tested. You’ll be moved to take a long, hard look at your heart.”

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