Conntecting the Dots

When Prayer Isn’t Enough

Some folks might think today’s title is sacrilegious. Let me assure you, it’s not intended that way. Read to the end and you’ll see where I’m going with this.

I can’t count how many times people have told me about their desire to change in a specific way. Or told me about a problem they have—a strained relationship, for example. Or even said they want to go on a cross-cultural ministry trip overseas. They ask me for my thoughts on the matter or for an objective eye to help sort out their options. In many cases, dealing with their situation requires action on their part. And that’s when they say, “I’ll pray about it.”

sometimes prayer isn't enough

Prayer is fundamental to our Christian faith. It invites God to participate in our lives, to accomplish His will on earth as it is done in heaven. It acknowledges our dependence upon Him. And it gives Him the opportunity to show His power at work in our circumstances. However… prayer isn’t always enough.

Sometimes we need to get off our knees and start walking or talking or getting our hands dirty before we see God move in response to our requests.

Take a look at this example from 2 Kings 4:32-35—“When Elisha arrived, the child was indeed dead, lying there on the prophet’s bed. He went in alone and shut the door behind him and prayed to the LORD. Then he lay down on the child’s body, placing his mouth on the child’s mouth, his eyes on the child’s eyes, and his hands on the child’s hands. And as he stretched out on him, the child’s body began to grow warm again! Elisha got up, walked back and forth across the room once, and then stretched himself out again on the child. This time the boy sneezed seven times and opened his eyes.”

Elisha faced a critical situation. How did he respond? First he prayed, and then he moved into action. Could God have breathed life into the boy without Elisha spreading his body across the boy’s? Of course, but He clearly waited for Elisha to get personally involved before He brought the child back to life.

Perhaps you’re in a difficult situation and you’ve prayed for direction many times. Could it be that the Holy Spirit has already told you what to do, but you’ve refused to obey because the marching orders feel scary? If so, ask the Lord for a willing heart to obey and the courage to take whatever action is necessary:

  • A strained relationship might heal if you break the silence and ask, “Have I done something to offend you?”
  • A desire for personal change—spiritual growth, for instance—means spending time in the Word if you’re not already doing so.
  • A desire for personal change—better health—means developing a lifestyle of healthy eating and exercise.
  • Pursuing your dream of a cross-cultural mission trip means finding a reputable organization that serves in a part of the world or particular ministry that interests you and then raising the necessary funds.

Prayer is first and foremost. But sometimes it’s not enough. God does His part, but He expects us to get involved and do ours, too.

How does this resonate with your Christian experience?

4 Responses to “When Prayer Isn’t Enough”

  1. Marge Bennett

    Wow……Wow….wow………Yes! I’ve just been thinking this very thing.
    You know, you can pray all you want about your garden not being weeded, but then……well……..it’s time to do something about it. If you can’t do it, you can pay someone to do it, but it still requires action. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately in so many realms of life. So many people get prayed for and then do nothing to cause something to change.

    Wow…..I love it…..and you’re referral to 2Kings…..that’s a great story. It might sound strange to some, but he did what he heard from God. Wow.

    Grace to You!!!!Grace.

    Reply
    • Grace Fox

      Maybe this thought about praying and then moving into action runs along James’ teaching re faith without works is dead, eh?

      Reply
  2. Marge Bennett

    Forgive me for this, Grace, but the churches are in great need of breaking out of the cycle……the circle they continually go around in, too. They go through (for the most part) the same routines, because that’s how they do things……..they pray for “revival”, and then they continue the same way, even while church members are lonely, dying, bored, and other words to describe an often despondent race of people claiming to know Jesus Christ. There’s too much pride, and love of affluent lives. I still think of what Jesus said about trying to save our lives, then we’ll lose it, but lose it for His sake, and we will find it.

    Reply
    • Grace Fox

      No need to ask my forgiveness, Marge. You’re totally free to say what’s on your mind. I agree with you here. Sometimes I wonder how many North American church-goers are “playing church” as opposed to living in a vibrant relationship with the Lord. We can know all the right words and all the expected behaviours, but that all adds up to nothing unless Jesus is Lord. Even God says that someday He’ll say “Depart from Me, I never knew you” to men and women who say, “But Lord, didn’t we do such-and-such in Your name?”

      I had a long talk with a very good friend this week. She’s been a women’s ministry leader for many years. She said she’s done with the fluff and so ready for a deeper walk with God. She laughed and said, “Write a book called ‘Cut the Crap.’ Wouldn’t that look good on the shelves in Christian book stores?”

      Reply

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