“God I want justice for the people who are marginalized.” “God, please give all the children in Indianapolis homes. I pray for no children without somewhere to lie their head at night.” “Jesus, my friend is really struggling financially, please provide for her family in this time of unemployment.” “God, that family who just had their house burn down, please be with them and give them comfort. Please give them the clothes they need and the shelter of a place to go.”
These are all prayers that I have prayed. Most of them I have actually prayed in the past two weeks. I am so convicted that that isn’t enough. Just praying for these things isn’t enough for me.
It is not enough for me to pray that God will help the people around me that are struggling and hurting. God is not impressed with my spirituality when I sit around and pray for things that I can physically or emotionally be the answer to. When I pass by the homeless man and pray that God will put someone in his life to love him and be a support for him and don’t myself stop I am convicted that I am committing one of the greatest forms of hypocrisy.
Hypocrisy is defined as, “the behavior of people who do things that they tell other people not to do”. But I also think it needs a second definition. “The behavior of people who tell others to do what they themselves are not willing to do.
I spend a lot of time praying that God will send someone to do the things that I don’t have the time or money to do. “God please provide the funds for that family to rebuild their house.” “God send someone to be a defense for my neighbors who are experiencing hate because of who they are .” Let’s be real for a second. It isn’t that I don’t have the time or the money. It is that it isn’t important to me and I don’t want to. It is more important to me to feel safe or buy the things I want than to be the solution. It is a lot easier for me to say a quick prayer and believe that God will use someone else with more time, more resources, and more passion to do the things I don’t want to do than for me to roll up my sleeves and do the work myself.
Something that I was told a few years ago was that “God uses the willing”. What If I was willing to be the answer to my own prayer? What if the fact that it is on my heart to pray for it at all is God pushing me into action? When did it be ok for me to use that gentle nudge as just a call to prayer instead of as a call to action? Why did I decide that it was acceptable to have prayer be my only action?
I want to live like I am the answer to my own prayer.
I also want to challenge you to do the same.
If we all lived like we were the answer to the things we were praying for I believe we really could be the change we want to see in our cities. This is not a time for sitting on our hands. There is more pain and need in the world than there has ever been in my lifetime. If we all were willing to do the work we could see those prayers answered.
“Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” 1 John 3:18 ESV