Challenging believers in Jesus to think and act based on Bible truth.

Think and Act 10.22.14 – Do You Hide Behind Prayer?

Do you hide behind prayer?

Do you promise to pray for people and fail to follow through?

Does someone ask you to do something and you tell them you’ll pray about it, only as a smokescreen to delay telling them how you really feel.

A couple thoughts about avoiding this shallow approach to prayer:

1. Prayer is designed to help us.

When we pray, many times we are asking for something. When we ask, God gives.

Example: You pray for wisdom in a conflict situation. God doesn’t give you wisdom so you can sit there and know the answer. He gives you wisdom so you can resolve the conflict and strengthen that relationship.

Example: You pray for your friend to be healed from their medical struggle, and God doesn’t grant the request. God has answered the prayer, and it should help you process things to encourage your friend. We have positive courses of action to encourage someone when God is leading down a certain path.

Seek first the kingdom of God . . . and all these things shall be added unto you. Prayer brings results we can apply.

2. Prayer is not a conversation ender.

Have you ever used prayer to get out of a conversation? You might say “Oh I’ll pray for that” hoping that the person would stop going on and on about whatever they’re talking about?

Prayer is not part of some great spiritual dodgeball game. If a conversation is ending with a reference to prayer, then pray on the spot, or at the very least be sure to let the person know in the coming days that you are praying for them.

3. Prayer is meant to enhance, not delay.

Seeking God in decision making is great. Seeking God (or claiming you’re seeking God) to delay decision making is hurtful.

Example: Say a friend asks you to serve with a specific ministry. Your passion isn’t there and the time isn’t available – and you know it. Well then don’t tell someone you’ll pray about it when you have no intention of doing it – either praying or whatever they asked you. They won’t forget; instead, they’ll only be frustrated with you and wish you’d have just told them the truth in the first place.

4. Prayer CAN be the only answer.

Saying “All we can do is pray” can be a way to weasel out of really caring for someone.

Saying “All we can do is pray” and then modeling it over a lengthy process, trial, or illness can be theologically accurate and spiritually encouraging.

In this case, the big difference is between saying and doing. Don’t say “praying is the last resort” without any intention to pray repetitively over a long period of time without a visible answer. Be prepared to do it, and to learn how God’s timing can shape you.

Think. Is prayer what you say it is? Are there any unhealthy ways you talk about prayer?

Act. When you say you’re going to pray, pray. And then when you get answers, put them into practice!

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