Thursday, November 4, 2004

A Declaration of Dependence

About prayer. For many people, prayer is merely a form, and they view it as ineffectual. Small wonder, if prayer is really nothing more than a form. Such folk are quick to talk about “putting feet to prayer” by following it up with action. But I suspect that those who say that often have their faith more in their action than in prayer.

Yes, it is important to follow up prayer with appropriate action, but if the thing is not first won in prayer, it will not be effectively achieved in action. That’s why so many people settle for so much less than what they have asked in their prayers. Better to trust in God’s answer and then let our action flow forth from that.

There’s a saying that I have heard for years, at least as far back as my days in Bible college in the ‘70s: “Pray as if everything depends upon God; work as if everything depends upon you.” It sounded good at the time, but now I think it is really a source of trouble for us. It’s more like a schizophrenia. Who are we really depending on — God or ourselves? A mixture of iron and clay will never hold up.

The Lord says that His thoughts are higher than our thoughts and His ways than our ways (Isaiah 55). I don’t know about you, but I am very weary of depending on my thoughts and my ways of getting things done. I want God’s thoughts and God’s ways, which are very accessible to us by His Word and Spirit.

I’m done depending on me — on my thoughts, my words and my ways. I stamp out such dependence wherever I find it because it is actually nothing more than independence from God, and independence from God leaves me nowhere and with nothing. Rather, I confess with the apostle Paul, “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God who also made us sufficient ministers of the New Covenant” (2 Corinthians 3:5-6).

So I have put a new twist on an old saying, one which I think is more powerful: Pray as if everything depends upon God; work as if everything depends upon God.

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