Have you ever been guilty of praying instead of doing? For example have you prayed that God uses your church to reach your community but offer none of your resources? You keep your money, talents or labour for yourself. Are you in the habit of praying but not listening thereby making yourself immune to the Holy Spirit who wants to nudge you to work with God on that prayer?
When we pray, what are our expectations? Do we have a time line in which we expect results? We know God deals with the world in His timing but do we not pray thinking we will see results by such and such time? It’s a reasonable expectation to have a prayer answered sooner than later especially, for example, if we are praying for someone stricken by a serious illness. We will pray for immediate healing. We won’t ask God to heal them over a long period of time so the individual can grow from their sufferings and maybe the family strengthened as they undergo emotional and financial difficulties. We pray it happens now. When it doesn’t happen in our time line how do we react? Do we say “God has answered my prayer by saying no?” Do we really want to believe God said no to our request to have a friend’s suffering end? Instead of thinking God said no, are we willing to think about whether there is something, in addition to prayer, that we can do? For example, could we visit our friend in the hospital? Could we offer a helping hand to their family? Could we invite them to dinner or make them a meal once a week? Could we help with seasonal chores such as snow removal or lawn care? Can we work on healing the godly relationship God’s desires of His children? Do we reflect on our prayers after we offered them to God especially when they do not seem to be going as we prayed?
When we pray, are we attentive to the Holy Spirit who could be prompting us into action? Do we pray as if we are partnering with God? Do we pray thinking we could be part of the answer to our prayers or do we pray believing only God needs to act? If we are standing at an intersection and notice an out-of-control bus coming towards a child waiting to cross the street, do we react with prayer? Do we ask God to save them or do we reach out, grab a hold of the child, and pull them out of harms way. Can our prayer then be to thank God that we were in a position to do something?
Don’t misinterpret today’s message. There are things that only God can affect and some that He chooses to use us in the answer. We must pray about everything and then pray some more. But at some point, can you quit just praying and start acting. Can you make Christianity a verb instead of a noun and back up your prayers with action.