BHAP (big, hairy, audacious prayer)

Sharing shortcuts:
(Reading Time: 2 minutes)

If you’ve heard this term before, I’m guessing you first heard it from a preacher in the pulpit.

According to a recent study, preachers buy an average of 15 books a year, and I’m guessing that Davis’s 2007 book Pray Big has seen most of its sales to pastors and prayer warriors.


BHAP \‘bee-hap\ n. Acronym for big, hairy, audacious prayer. A bold, visionary prayer (see 2007 citation), often with a clearly defined objective and a time frame in which the objective will be reached.
Will Davis Jr. coined BHAP in 2007 (see citation) as a Christian version of the corporate jargon acronym BHAG (=Big Hairy Audacious Goal), though other authors have claimed credit for coming up with the term (see 2011 and 2012 citations).
The expression big, hairy, audacious goal was coined by James Collins and William Glazier in their 1992 book Beyond Entrepreneurship: Turning Your Business into an Enduring Great Company. The expression was popularized by the 1994 best-seller Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies by Collins and Jerry Porras, and it was in this book that the acronym BHAG first appeared. Then in 1996 Collins and Porras carefully defined a BHAG in this way: “A true BHAG is clear and compelling, serves as unifying focal point of effort, and acts as a clear catalyst for team spirit. It has a clear finish line, so the organization can know when it has achieved the goal; people like to shoot for finish lines” (Harvard Business Rev. 74/5 65).
So insofar as a big, hairy, audacious prayer would resemble a big, hairy, audacious goal, the prayer needs to have a well-defined, quantifiable objective and a fixed time frame; the prayer also needs to be something the entire church community (or other group) supports and is joining in prayer for.
See also *acronyms.
2007 Davis Jr. Pray Big: The Power of Pinpoint Prayers 27 : I’d like to borrow from Jim Collins’s language and introduce you to the concept of BHAPs—Big, Hairy, Audacious Prayers. A BHAP is the kind of prayer that takes your breath away. It’s a vision so God-sized, so humanly impossible, and yet so utterly appealing that it totally consumes you—and it drives you to your knees in prayer. 2011 Batterson The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears 177 : In their groundbreaking book Built to Last, Jim Collins and Jerry Porras introduced the acronym BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals). I’ve substituted a P for the G. I think of my God-sized goals as Big Hairy Audacious Prayers (BHAPs). They force me to work like it depends on me and pray like it depends on God. 2012 Parrish From Duty to Delight: Finding Greater Joy in Daily Prayer 67 : Several years ago, I read a business book that spoke of the need for a company to have “big hairy audacious goals.” But as I read, I thought, What about the God factor? So I came up with “big hairy audacious prayers,” or BHAP (pronounced “bee-hap”) for short. BHAPs are prayers that only the living, powerful, awesome God that we know could possibly answer.
Sharing shortcuts: