Monday, October 25, 2010

Prayer and Action

There is a strong connection between prayer and action. There is an African proverb that goes, “When you pray, move your feet.”

We aren’t called to be totally passive in our praying. If discouragement takes the wind out of our sails, prayer is the wind at our backs. Prayer can move us to take action. Praying for something motivates us to do something about it. If we pray for the hungry, then we’ll be more motivated to donate money to the local food bank or prepare and serve a meal at a soup kitchen.

Prayer isn't reciting flowery phrases, but is a connection with God that moves us in a direction. To pray isn’t to motivate God to take action for us. God already wants the best for us. God isn’t going to do something for us that we should be doing ourselves. Prayer motivates us.

The chaplain of Cambridge University once wrote, “Prayer as Jesus taught isn’t just a private matter. It’s not personal therapy or a crutch for the weak. Prayer is about refusing to believe that the way things are has to be the way they always will be; prayer is about imagining how the world could be, and gaining the wisdom and energy to bring it about. “

Prayer changes the one praying. Praying can help us discern what we can and can’t control. It can give us the motivation and energy to do the positive things within our control. Praying can also give us the strength and courage we need to not give up and persevere in trying and difficult times. While prayer itself is an action, it also moves us to live as God intends.

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