Do you know the number one comment I hear from people who try to justify that they’re doing okay with the Lord is this? They tell me they’re praying. Okay, cool, right? Hmm. Not sure. Because the truth of the matter is that so many people I talk to who say they believe in God tell me they pray to God and don’t do much else. They pray. They pray. They pray. They huff. They huff. They huff. And puff. And the next thing they know, they can’t understand why their house – or lives, to be most precise – have come tumbling down. Call me an expert. I should know. Been there. Done that. For too long. Back in the beginning, when I, too, could probably justify to just about everyone – or at least try – how I had this rock solid relationship with God. Not. Not at all. Not in the least. Sad? No. Tragic.
So let me ask you something. If your kids, or your husband, or your best friend, or someone close to you, someone important to you, someone significant in your life, took every opportunity possible – or lots of opportunities anyway – to ask you to do stuff for him or her, and for stuff, what would you say? What would you think? I don’t know about you, but I can sure tell you about me. I would be out the door. Or out of my mind. Or, most precisely, hurt, frustrated, angry, upset, well, something. I think you get the picture. I mean, what kind of relationship would that be? I should know. Been there, done that. Not just with God. With people. Wish I could say I did it for a short season. Not true. I did it for years. Me, me, and more me. How my loved ones stuck by me, those who did anyway, is beyond me.
So here’s the deal. Do you really suppose God created us, and that God’s Son Jesus died on the cross, so we could spend our lives praying – and praying – and more praying? Really? Okay, well maybe the Bible says we shouldn’t stop praying. We should pray without “ceasing”, right? Well, let me point something out. How big is the Bible? Huge, right? Massive, isn’t it? It seems to go on forever, like God. So is it possible that God wants us to do a lot more than what He says in one single scripture, or maybe a bunch of scriptures? Is it possible that He wants us to hear, and to study, and to DO what the rest of the Bible says? Ahem.
Yeah, and there it is. It’s not that I have it on my heart to encourage the whole wide world to quit praying. But I do have it heavy, really heavy on my heart in fact, to encourage people (that includes you) that a real, true, sincere, loving, intimate relationship with the Creator of the universe should in no way be limited to prayer. And it certainly shouldn’t come at the exclusion of studying – and doing – what the Bible teaches us to do. The rest of the Bible. The whole of the Bible.
Do you know something? Most of the people I meet who tell me their relationships with God are okay because they are praying, and praying, and praying, and not much of anything else, they also tell me their lives are a mess. Just like mine was. For as long as I can remember. For years and years and years. Do you suppose God maybe didn’t want to fix my broken life when all I did was pray and stay broken? Or do you suppose He wanted me to get off my big butt (okay, I have a little butt in the grand scheme of things) and get my life in order. Well, how? By praying? Yeah, a little prayer wasn’t going to hurt. But God wanted me to get off my rear end and learn how to DO what His Word says. And that took, and takes, studying, hearing, and putting into action what He teaches, and commands, in His Word.
Please do me a favor, would you? Please don’t quit praying. But please add into the mix the rest of the ingredients. Like the biggest one of all. Having a two-way relationship with the Lord and digging deep into His Word – and learning to live it.
Tough stuff, huh? I agree. But I can attest to this. Ever since I put this into practice, my life has never been the same. And I have total confidence that yours will not be either.
Jas 1:22 “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
Jas 1:23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:
Jas 1:24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
Jas 1:25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” James 1:22-25 KJV (underlining added for effect)