Don't Just Say Your Prayers... DO Them
When I've been praying lately, asking for God to do certain things, I keep getting the impression that I need to be the agent by which those things happen.
Let me put it this way. When I pray that Marissa would be filled with joy and have a great day, I can sit around and hope for this outcome to happen magically, or I can step into that prayer and be an active agent in it.
We can say prayers, or we can do prayers.
I'm a firm believer in the reality that God works through people more often than the moments when he does miraculous things totally outside of human action.
So, as I feel compelled to pray for Marissa to have a joyful day, I also feel compelled to take actions that might help Marissa have a joyful day.
I not only say a prayer, but I do a prayer.
As I pray that injustice will be dealt with in this world, I need to at least start playing an active role in supporting people whose life work is fighting injustice.
"Does prayer actually work?"
Prayer does work. It works because it pushes us to be a part of the change we want to see.
I love how C.S. Lewis put it:
"I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time--waking and sleeping.
[Prayer] doesn't change God, it changes me."
Prayer changes me a lot more than it changes my situation. And if that's as far as some of my prayers get, that's enough. After all, God is in the business of changing us and making us into better people.
Sure, the subject of prayer is a lot more complex, but I think a lot of the practical prayers that I find myself praying fall into this sort of category.
Many of my prayers are doable.
Jesus once said to ask, seek, and knock. Most of us have the asking part down when it comes to prayer.
"God, will you do this for me?"
"How about this thing, God?"
But what about the other two things: seeking and knocking. Those are actions. They aren't praying, they are get-out-there and start doing.
Ask, but seek and knock too.
A lot of people ask, "does prayer work"? Well, that all depends on what you think it's supposed to do.
And what you think you're supposed to DO.
We could spend a lot of our time worrying about whether our prayers are "working", or we could start working towards our prayers.
Pray prayers, but go further than that.