Stop using prayer as a cop-out.

I’ve noticed an interesting dichotomy between the people of the Bible and the people of today (other than the addition of iPhones, lack of 12-year-olds herding sheep, etc). Read about David, Joseph, Noah, Rahab, Abraham, Caleb, Esther, Joshua, Peter, Paul etc and you’ll find a common denominator:

They did something.

No, really. They did something. They didn’t just pray about it, or pray about it for two months before doing something (at least not that I’m aware of).
They didn’t pray about it and then go ask their accountability partner, D group leader, youth pastor, or friends to pray about it.
They didn’t pray about it and then decide they needed to sit down and study Scripture (or, well, the Dead Sea Scrolls..) for a few hours.
They didn’t pray about it and wait for God to write a sign in the sky.
They didn’t pray about it and talk themselves out of doing something hard.
Not all of them even took the time to pray about what we know them for: They just did what they knew they needed to do.

Stay with me. If the hair on the back of your neck is standing up, just stay with me. Far cry from most of our modern-day Christian culture. Far cry from my life, to be honest. I have a habit of asking God why things are the way they are. Sometimes a little out of spite, and other times I’m legitimately asking why something is going down the way it is because I’m searching for clear understanding. I think God really gets a kick out of it when I ask “Why?!” and then pray for understanding or patience. I think he shakes his head and chuckles every time. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past few months, it’s that when you pray for a character trait, or even a fruit of the Spirit, God doesn’t give it to you. Ever. But he gives you situations where you can choose whether or not you’ll practice those traits, learn, and grow. Our relationship with God isn’t 50/50. If that’s how we view it, we miss out on a lot. Our relationship with him is 100/100. We give 100% because he has already given, and continues to give 100%. And that means a willingness to just do what he tells us to, when he tells us, which would be the exact same for every God-follower:

Go and make disciples.

I talk with older teens in the youth group quite a bit about the concept of God’s will because most of them start freaking out about “God’s will” during second semester of their senior year when the eleventh hour is upon them. Natural and understandable for a Christian kiddo. But I tell them all the same thing: God’s will is huge. It’s not confined to one pathway. God doesn’t lack creativity to the point of only being able to work out one path for every person. God’s will is huge, and he gives us a lot of choices (because love is a choice). He’s already told all of us what his will is: Go and make disciples. Go and make disciples working as a barista in a coffee shop, in a manufacturing facility as a laborer, as a dentist cleaning teeth, as a pediatrician working with kids, as a teacher shaping young minds, as a computer geek who shows neverending patience when a clueless person such as myself calls & asks for IT help.

God’s made it pretty clear what he wants us to do. I’m not sure why we need to spend extravagant time praying about what we already know we should be doing.

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6 thoughts on “Stop using prayer as a cop-out.

  1. impressed says:

    Loved this! 2 times I really needed to know God’s will, I prayed, but continued to move forward asking Him to really let me know in a way I couldn’t miss if I was going the wrong direction. The first, my marriage: came back from his affair, looked at areas I needed to work on and now we are continuing to work on our marriage and second, our budget: though still a mess, is getting better, because we are working on it, not waiting to win the lottery. I believe He wants to hear our prayers of thanksgiving and asking for help, but He also needs us to keep doing :)

    • Hannah says:

      Thank you for your encouragement! It’s so easy to want to pray and pray and pray, but then we forget to act. Whoops. Totally guilty of it myself. I’m glad to hear that changes are being made in both marriage and the financial realm. Neither are easy to do, I’m sure! Keep doing the godly things. I HIGHLY recommend reading some Dave Ramsey. Financial Peace University is SUCH a blessing!

      Thank you again for dropping by my blog. You’re welcome here any time! :)

  2. Ellie says:

    Too many times I think Christians are really looking for a crystal ball answer for their future instead of for the will of God – they want to choose the path that leads to their dream spouse, dream job with dream benefits, and dream family all in a dream house with no difficulties in life. That is never promised to us!! God us very specific in His will for us “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8) Yes, we are instructed to pray, but we are instructed here to ACT!!! Just as in your example with making disciples, the Micah mandate can be fulfilled in most forms of gainful employment. :)

    Great blog post! Glad I stumbled across your blog!!

    • Hannah says:

      I agree wholeheartedly, Ellie! I just started a blog this morning about love, and I appreciate your comment about people looking for the “dream spouse.” Sometimes God asks us to be Hosea-like. Anyone can argue that with me all day long, but God didn’t guarantee us any ease, did he? He just promised to be with us in what he asks us to do.

      Thanks for your encouragement! You’re welcome here any time! :)

  3. Brittany at EquippingGodlyWomen.com says:

    Well, *technically* it is possible that they prayed and procrastinated a ton first and then eventually went and did it (think: Jonah!), but yeah, they did all listen. And we have the benefit of learning from their stories, so we Definitely should listen! the first time.

    • Hannah says:

      Definitely possible, Brittany (sorry I’m just now seeing this! Good grief – MONTHS late!). I think that’s where we tend to fall in a rut. We hear God tell us to do something, but then we want to pray, and pray, and pray, and puh-RAY about his will. Well what in the world – we’ve already been told. Go do it! I had to re-read this post recently and eat my own words because I got caught in this cycle again. Life. :)

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