When did Christians give up on Christ?
Well, that’s a provocative statement. Where’s it coming from?
I see more and more people who profess to be Christians noting that prayer just makes you feel good. It really has nothing more than an emotional satisfaction for the one who offers the prayer.
I understand the sentiment. People feel frustrated and helpless, especially in today’s world where one issue is given center stage by media of all sorts and it seems that nothing happens to address the problem. It seems like nothing is happening.
But why trivialize prayer? What does that accomplish?
Warning! This next segment is about the thickness not the color of your skin. Stop here if the truth offends you. Trivializing prayer is the tool of the devil. The Father of Lies wants you to think that your prayers are not powerful and effective.
I scroll by dozens, maybe hundreds of nonsensical posts most days, but when I seen one in which false premises are used to subtlety twist God’s holy word, I see the devil at work and often stand in the gap so that believers will not be deceived.
Jesus calls us to ask, seek, and continue knocking when we need something.
Trivializing prayer is cowardice. Remember God reminding Joshua to be strong and courageous. God was not making things easy. He was going into battle before and with Joshua as he had promised through Moses.
But why call this cowardice? Because God may not give you the answer that you want and you might just be afraid of what he will call you to do.
You might be afraid of what he calls you to do!
What if the change needed must come first in your own heart? What if God calls you to replace shame and guilt with obedience to him? What if God tells you to extract the lumberyard in your own eye before insisting that everyone see things your way?
But there are problems that need to be fixed and they require action not prayer.
The statement about problems is accurate. The attached condition is of the devil.
If God calls you to action, then act. If he calls you to more prayer, then pray. The two are not exclusive.
In fact, prayer often leads us to action. Action without prayer often spoils our best efforts. Remember that Nehemiah prayed when put on the spot by the king as to what he wanted. The king could give him whatever he thought would fix things, but he prayed first. As it turned out, what was on his heart and God’s desire were most compatible.
God will not call you to minimize the work of his Son or to mock God in any form, as to say that his word returns void.
A cause of action feels good. Rallying cries abound. Emotions run high. We can do this if everyone will get on board! We can build a tower to heaven and make a name for ourselves!
We can do this if everyone will be of like mind with me! Don’t let prayer get in the way!
You can do things that way. It will be like eating candy as your complete diet. You will have a rush and then a stomach ache. The only question will be, will your teeth rot before your cause dies a whimpering death?
For those who truly study the Bible, and some caught up in the current schemes of the enemy still do read their Bibles on occasion, God’s words lay out a simple dichotomy. There is God’s way and there is everything else.
If you are on the everything else path, you will be consumed in your quest. Without God’s sustainment, your efforts won’t last long. They will have no efficacy. You will feel helpless and hopeless in a few months, which by the way, is exactly where the enemy wants you.
You will feel like you are full of purpose for a time, but if it is not God-given purpose it will neither last nor produce the fruit that God desires. It’s like God telling you to plant broccoli but you want to plant tomatoes. You plant the tomatoes and ask God to bless your crop. Then a few months later you say that God doesn’t hear your prayers.
Pray without ceasing. Have an ongoing conversation with God. Don’t give him a list of acceptable options. Listen to him. His Spirit will lead you in accordance with his word. There may be plenty of challenges in what he calls you to do but there will be no dissonance.
Don’t let the devil use your anger to disconnect you from God. Anger is a natural human emotion. Sustained anger and anger in which we feel righteous comes easy but does not produce the righteous life that God desires.
But nothing seems to be happening! We need action. You guys need to get onboard!
If you are at this point and it seems that many are, ask: Did I pray and expect to receive? Am I a double-minded doubter?
Was my heart hardened when I prayed? Did I only want action from others? What if, I never actually surrendered my life to my Lord?
If you believe that prayer only makes you feel good, you have been deceived. The question is are you content in the deception in which you live? Your emotions may say yes, but the truth says no.
For the Christian, the Spirit of God that lives within you is inviting you to confess and trust in God’s promised pardon.
God wants you back in the race and our race often has some hurdles along the way. He has great plans for you, some of them might even involve fixing those things that are on your heart, but you can’t go it alone for long.
Sometimes as much as we think we are ready for action, we must let the Lord have his way with us before we can impact the world. Sometimes, he has prepared us in advance. We must trust him over the voice of the world to know when the time is right and the course the Lord has given us.
Yes, we must know that his ways are not our ways, but we must take courage, for we have been given the mind of Christ. He has overcome the world and because he lives in us no challenge in the world is too great.
Now is not the time to discount or dismiss prayer as something good only for an emotional fix. If you believe in Christ and the odds are that if you read this far, you have professed him as Lord, why would you discount his directives?
The prayers of a righteous person—one made right with God in the blood of Jesus—are powerful and effective.
Do we ignore the problems of the world? No. We ask God what part he has assigned us and we do not argue with him if it’s not what we had in mind.
Know that his answer will be covered in, rooted in, and guided by love for he is love and Jesus has commanded to love each other as much as he loves us.
Will we pay lip service to God and do things our own way or will we wait upon the Lord and trust him to tell us exactly what we are to do?
We can’t discount prayer as just a feel good about ourselves device and expect to impact problems in this world. Prayer is a real connection. We are guided by the Holy Spirit as we study God’s written word and as we seek him and listen to him in prayer.
The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.