My wife shared with me this morning a dream that she had. A dream that had left her a bit puzzled as to why she might have had that dream and at the same time curiously interesting.
The dream involved our pastor, his truck, Belinda, her car and the congregation from our church.
In the dream, pastor had driven right over Belinda’s car with his truck. Miraculously, neither Belinda or the pastor, or the pastors truck were injured in the least. However, Belinda’s little car was now littler still by a good bit since the truck had crushed it.
Pastor got out of the truck and told Belinda “I’m so, so sorry! I was praying and just never saw you there! Are you okay?” Still in a state of shock Belinda was speechless which is not her normal pattern. Suddenly, members of our church would come up and stand around the car and pray for the car. All the while, Belinda and pastor exchanged insurance information. (end dream)
She asked me if I had any idea why she would have dreamt that and all I could say was, “No, but it does inspire me to write a new blog post.” So here we are!
Running down people with prayer
It almost sounds like an oxymoron doesn’t it? But I think we can take a lesson from Belinda’s dream even if we can’t determine the origin of it.
I’m guilty of this more than I want to admit. I think perhaps all of us are to some extents. On the flipside, none of us should be running over people with our prayers. Just like the dream, It’s just not right. Something is wrong with it right from the first blush.
What do I mean by ‘Running down people with prayer’? Simply this, as I lightly chuckled over Belinda’s dream revelation, I felt a bit of a twinge as God rebuffed me that at times I do exactly this to people around me. Despite having the ability to affect positive change or lend assistance to people, I very well might simply tell them “I’ll pray for you!”. And you know what? That is a good thing to do. However, it becomes less than good and a cheapened offering when we offer prayer without putting our skills and resources to work where we can. That’s what I am calling “Running down people with prayer”.
Drive-by prayer warriors (self-included) will avoid involvement by substituting prayer for action. We all have a million excuses why we can’t lend assistance to a situation, and we also have one massive reason why if we can, we should! Jesus took action for us!
John 3:16 (CSB)
For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
The very premise of your salvation is based on action. God so loved the world that he ACTED! Jesus comforts the hurting, heals the sick, raises the dead, casts out demons, makes the blind see, and the lame walk. In short Jesus acted! So much so that he lived a sinless life and gave (action) himself up to purchase the Grace and Forgiveness that we all who believe take peace and comfort in.
Galatians 1:3-4 (CSB)
Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.
Just so we could provide a supplication on other’s behalf and avoid involvement? NO, He did not!!! God so loved the world that he took action. Jesus loves me this I know because He took action. He also tells us to follow Him. Let Him be the template for our lives.
Matthew 16:24-26 (CSB)
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me will find it. For what will it benefit someone if he gains the whole world yet loses his life? Or what will anyone give in exchange for his life?
If you want to follow (action) Jesus, what? Deny yourself! Take up your cross! Follow Him! Action, action, and more action.
So, we (finger pointed at me too), pray for the desperate and walk away. Somethings just not right about this picture; just as the imagery of Belinda’s dream.
We have a responsibility to minister to the needs of those we can, if we believe Jesus’s words “Deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.”
Something else that Jesus told us:
Matthew 25:44-45 (CSB)
“Then they too will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or without clothes, or sick, or in prison, and not help you?’
“Then he will answer them, ‘I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
Speaking for myself, I find it staggering the amount of disregard I hide behind an earnest prayer at times.
I’m not writing this to discourage anyone from praying. No, on the contrary, we should if anything pray even more than we do today. But just as Paul tells us that ‘faith without works is dead’, so our prayers being offered up in lieu of taking action where we could, really doesn’t speak well of how we are carrying our cross.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (CSB)
Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
This brings me to the flip side of the drive-by prayer warrior. Belinda is a new believer and we often discuss various biblical principles and today was no different. She’s at the point where she ‘just doesn’t want to bother God with trivial things’. This simply isn’t in keeping with this verse in first Thessalonians. “Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in everything” doesn’t sound to me like we should filter our conversations with God to only the big things.
Loose the prayer filter. To prioritize and minimize your prayer topics is to call God a liar. It says “God I don’t think you can handle this because you have so many other things to deal with what with the universe and all” HE IS Omnipotent (having unlimited power), Omniscience (knows everything) and Omnipresent (he’s at all points in time and space at the same time).
We cannot overwhelm Him with our requests. He’s made it abundantly clear that there is nothing that is too much for him to do to establish a relationship with us. So why apply prayer restrictions to filter what we thank him for, ask him about, plead for? There is no good reason; just our own smaller version of God, than the one that gave his Son to die for us.
Pray for other’s needs.
Put action behind those prayers when you are able.
Don’t hesitate to pray about anything.
It will make you an effective ‘prayer warrior’ stationed where God wants you.