“The great people of the earth today are people who pray. I do not mean people who talk about prayer; nor those who say they believe in prayer; nor yet those who can explain about prayer; but I mean those people who take time and pray. They have not the time. It must be taken from something else. This something else is important. Very important, pressing, but still less important and less pressing than prayer.” -- S.D. Gordon
Which is harder – to pray or to work? Be honest. Which comes more natural when you have a problem that you can’t solve: to get up and try to fix it? Or to kneel down and spend some time praying about it?
For me, it’s a no-brainer. The harder task is prayer...by far! I know it seems counterintuitive, but it's true.
For me, it takes less effort to spend hours preparing a sermon than it does to spend just minutes praying for that sermon. Or if I knew someone had a problem and needed help, it would be easier for me to spend an hour and a half talking to him and counseling him through that problem, than it would be spend a quarter of that time sincerely praying for him in that problem.
Tell me if this sounds familiar: you have a problem, something you want to change in your life. How many times have we all done this after discovering a problem: you think about it… discuss it with others… come up with a plan… put that plan on paper… and then get to working.
Oh… and then you spend a few quick seconds praying and asking God to bless your plan. Kind of a “wish me luck” request of God.
It’s not just me, is it???
Prayer is absolutely harder than work. To me, it’s not even close. It shouldn't be, but it is. I know it and you do too.
And if you don’t know it and you actually think prayer is easy, then I’ll bet you don’t pray very much. I’ll bet you’re content with a surface level kind of prayer – that kind that just asks God to “be with me” and “bless my ____.” If that’s you’re kind of prayer, then yes, I agree. That is easy. But that’s not the kind of prayer that I’m talking about.
I’m talking about the kind of prayer that moves mountains… the kind of prayer that parts the Red Sea… the kind of prayer that knocks down walls. I’m talking about the kind of prayer that heals broken marriages and brings back lost children. I’m talking about the kind of prayer that changes hearts and affects eternities. I’m talking about the kind of prayer that builds kingdoms and builds a sanctuary for the LORD.
If you’ve ever tried to pray that kind of prayer, you know it isn’t easy. You know it’ll always be easier to “work” than it will be to “pray.” Why is that?
Work comes natural; prayer doesn’t. Work is tangible; prayer isn’t. Work “accomplishes” something and makes me feel productive; simply put, prayer doesn’t.
Prayer seems like something we have to DO, but in the end, it doesn’t feel like anything's really getting DONE.
What if I told you that the most productive thing you’ll do today is pray? What if I told you that 2 minutes spent in prayer – sincere, heartfelt, genuine prayer – is more productive than 2 hours spent trying to work on whatever problem is in front of you? Would you believe me?
A.E. McAdam said it this way: “No praying man or woman accomplishes so much with so little expenditure of time as when he or she is praying.”
Do you agree or no? Don’t tell me your answer with your mouth; show me your answer by the amount of time and energy you invest in prayer. It’s one thing to talk about prayer, and think about prayer, and teach others about prayer… but that’s not the same as actually praying!
God is really teaching me this lesson these days – especially as it pertains to the BUILD YOUR KINGDOM campaign.
For years, I’ve served God by working harder than I’ve prayed. And that's not bad. It’s a good place to start. God honored that work and blessed it and brought forth fruits. I like to say that God worked linearly during that time.
But now God is calling me to flip the script – to pray harder than I work. And the result hasn't been God working linearly anymore; it's now God working EXPONENTIALLY!
I love this picture of the little boy who said his #OneBrick is PRAYING. I’ll bet most of us look at that with a smile and think “oh, that’s cute, but my contribution is much more important.”
Are you sure about that???
“Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain.” (Psalm 127:1)
What do you think God could do in your life if you worked less and prayed more? What could God do in your family? In your church? In your city? What would happen if all of God’s people would commit to praying more and working less? Would it make a difference in the world?
For thought/discussion: what would happen if you worked less and prayed more?