Have you ever been in a situation where you felt like someone was trying to misuse prayer? I have, several times in fact.
I have been in situations with other Christians where we were put in a position to make hard decisions. These decisions must be made promptly. Some of the decisions required leadership. I think that it is great default to use prayer when considering tough decisions. The question I pose to you is, do we use misuse prayer to avoid making hard decisions? Do we hide behind “praying about a situation” to delay in making decisions?
I know that sometimes we must pray and pray until we are felt led. Sometimes the decisions do not come easy. And sometimes the answers are not clearly laid out. I think that we sometimes unintentionally misuse prayer to avoid telling someone no. It is hard for some people to confront others and make decisions. When someone always says their prayer has not let them to making a decision, it confuses me.
My grandmother always told me to put foot to prayer. Meaning, you must act upon the situation and pray through it the entire time. Some people don't ever want to get off of the bench. They are content sitting on the sideline and never having any action.
This brings me to the book of James.
James 2:14-17 NASB “What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.”
I think that James 2:14-17 shows us that our prayers must have action. In fact, James says that if faith has no works, it is dead.
Don't misuse prayer to cover up your inaction.
As Christians, we are called to take action. We are called to pray as well. The adjoining of prayer and action helps us bear fruit. If we pray without action, we are not following Gods intentions for our life. I have been guilty of this as well. We have all prayed without the intentions of doing anything about the situation that we were praying for.
If you are praying that your neighbor who lost his job finds a new job, what are you doing as a Christian to show action? Are you helping that person find a job? Are you providing them a meal in their time of need? Do you help pay a bill to help them get by? How about offering to babysit so that they can go to job interviews?
We need to start being more intentional with our prayers. I understand that sometimes our resources are limited. But if you look at the situation hard enough, there is always something that you can do to help the person for whom you are praying for.
I will leave you with this verse from James 2:18.
James.2:18 NASB “But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”