Some people have the impression of praying at the expense of doing something practical about their needs.
Suppose you meet a person without clothes and daily food and you say to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but do nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?
Many of us struggle with spending time in prayer because we believe that God would have us do something – so when do we pray and when do we do something about what we are praying for?
Why then does the Bible emphasize prayer? Why would prayer do any good?
God has chosen to move through our praying to accomplish things that would not have happened through any other means. As we seek God’s presence, He gives us light for the path ahead and makes His purpose known.
The bible tells us in 1 Chronicles 16:11 “Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.”
By praying, we are asking our loving God to intervene and provide help to those who need it; he is both able and willing to answer these prayers. When God waits for us to make a request and then responds to it, rather than fulfilling the need before we ask, he is interacting with us and teaching us about himself: that he does love us and care for our needs, and that he is faithful and will respond to us when we ask him for what is good.
When we pray, we are demonstrating our dependence upon God. We are saying to God that “we need you,” that “without you we can do nothing.” Prayer is also an act of faith. What is the use in praying unless you have faith there is a God who hears you and faith there is a God who can help you? So when we pray we not only demonstrate our dependence upon God, but also our faith in God.
Prayer requires action. God requires our actions, not just our prayers.
When the Israelites fled from Egypt found themselves trapped between the Yam suph (Red Sea) and the Egyptian chariots, Moses prayed to the Lord. God’s response (paraphrased) was “Why are you standing there talking to me? Get moving!” God needed action to fulfill His promise.
Jesus’ life and teaching included both prayer and action. Presumably, if God meant for us to spend all of our time praying, Jesus would have spent all his time praying for people instead of going out to help and teach them.
Although Jesus devoted plenty of time to prayer, it was not the only thing he did. In fact, he taught that we should not pray long redundant prayers in an effort to be heard by God or impress others – Mathew 6:7-8 & Luke 20:47.
What actions do my prayers require of Me?
Why would my prayers move me to action? Why wouldn’t they move God to action?
The goal of prayer is to change our hearts. Of course God still works in supernatural ways and grants prayers that are in line with His will. But He wants to make us more like Him. That requires change. Change requires action. God constantly acts to move us to action.
The bible tells us in Matthew 7:7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
Mark 11:24 “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
Many of us who pray, fail to follow up our prayers with ACTION. We pray and seek God for a need in our life, finish praying, and then sit back waiting for God to meet our need.
Is God able? Of course, He is God! However, never forget that we pray out of faith, and true faith requires ACTION.
If you are praying for God to meet your financial needs, pray, but then ACT! Seek out successful men and women and get their wise counsel. Sit down and put a game plan together to help you meet your financial needs and achieve your financial goals.
God can provide for us in many ways, but His most common form of provision is through our hard work.
Prayer must precede action.
Prayer is not a passive exercise but an active one. We are active participants in God answering our prayers. It requires action on our part. We must learn how to walk at God’s pace if we desire to truly hear God and discern his best for our lives.
It is God who is answering our prayers, but our faith requires us to be involved in that process. Walking at God’s pace does not excludes action.
We act on what God gives us and go no further; we pray and we wait and then we act. This rhythm of praying, waiting and acting brings a new level of effectiveness to our lives, because we are staying in step with the Holy Spirit – Galatians 5:22-25.
Actions follows prayer
Prayer discovers what action to take
Prayer and action should never excludes each other, but in the busyness of our world, we often disconnect from the real source of direction and peace.
Making Prayer a Priority
Prayer not only should precede action, it is action of the highest kind because it gives God the priority He deserves. Prayer must permeate our actions and be a continual part as we consciously live in God’s presence.
It’s not just a matter of ‘making time’ for God; it’s the realization that all of our time is in His hands. Learning to give prayer a priority takes time. Prayer is the vehicle God uses to take us to new places of grace
God desires us to be prayerful people of action people who pray first and then act in response to His leading.