Sunday, June 25, 2006

Just Pray

While my friend Deb and I were chatting, we started wondering about how Christians can become so ensnared in sin that they backslide and seem to turn away from the faith. At one point I said "sometimes all you can do is just pray".

Deb took exception to the fact that I said "just pray". She was asking why we sometimes say, when we have seemingly tried to do everything to help in whatever situation, that all we can do is "just pray". She said we should pray in every situation and that saying "just" pray diminishes the role of prayer and the power in contains. I think she speaks truth!

I explained that humans have a tendency to want to "fix" things, or do something. We want to be able to do something to help, and that seems natural. When we surmise that we are unable to help, we default to "just praying" for whatever situation. Deb said, and she is correct, that prayer should be the first thing we do!

In an email back to Deb, after I pondered what she had to say about "just pray" during my drive home, I wrote:
"It is amazing how conversation can bring forth tiny tidbits that can revolutionize one's thinking. You know, your pointing out why we say "just pray" really stopped me in my tracks. I've been pondering that since you brought it up and realize that praying IS doing. If we "just pray" we are basically admitting that we aren't believing God can do what He says He can do. If we pray, we are recognizing God will do what He says He will do and we are praying with faith. Praying is asking God to do what He can do, since we can't do anything. You are right, praying it is the best thing we can do."
I think I'll start a campaign, "I don't just pray, I PRAY" or (in line with "don't just sit there, do something!") "Don't just pray there, PRAY THERE!"

Saying "just" would seem to indicate that we lack the faith to believe prayer changes things. It says, in a way, that "I can't do anything, I don't see a way out, so I just pray". Where is the faith in that? "So I just pray." Where is the confidence?

James 5:16 "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective."
James doesn't say "just pray"...he encourages us to PRAY! He tells us that prayer is "powerful and effective"! Prayer is an offensive weapon in the spiritual battle. While we may put on our spiritual armor in defense of satan's attacks, prayer gives us an offensive weapon to battle with. The weapon is "powerful and effective".

So, when spiritual warfare is at hand, and the battle near, I plan to PRAY FIRST and ask questions later!

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