I came across this status on Facebook today: “_____ hopes that people’s prayers fuel their actions and that their actions fuel the praise of God. It’s hard to eat your prayers…” The post was in reference to Nashville flooding, from someone whose family lost everything. I definitely understand the reasoning behind the statement. It got me thinking… it is so easy to say “I’ll pray for you” or “I’ll pray for those people”. It is much, much harder at times to do something about it and put those prayers into action. I’d like to think if I was living in Nashville right now I’d be helping out with the cleanup efforts. The reality is, it would take some work on my part to be able to do that work. It would involve finding childcare, or finding an opportunity to help an individual where a child could tag along… or even finding an opportunity to help someone in my home. I have seen Facebook statuses of people offering their homes and playrooms for people who have been displaced to bring kids to play (which I thought was a great idea… maybe it doesn’t help everyone, but to displaced moms whose kids have lost all of their toys and are living in shelters… it’s a big deal. I’d be willing to bet they would leave with a few more toys as well). Right now it seems like finding a way to help out… regardless of your situation… is pretty easy. I just also know how easy it is to say “I’ll pray for you” and then not even do that, much less anything else.
On the flip side… I was responding to a blog post about the Oklahoma tornadoes and typed, “I’ll pray for all of you”. I almost typed, “I wish I could do more”. I didn’t — because of this: I immediately thought, “By saying, ‘I wish I could do more’, am I saying that praying isn’t doing much?” I believe that prayer is powerful. I don’t believe that praying is “doing nothing”. I know that God can do much more than I can ever do.
I also know that he uses people and community and his church to do many of those things. We are often the way he puts prayers into action.
So… prayer is powerful… and so is getting out of your head and helping others.
I guess I needed to type all of that out to reconcile the two ideas… and thought I’d share.
What do you think? Do you often pray more than you “do”? Do you take action for yourself (or others) more than you have faith that God will privide? Do you see yourself as part of that provision? How do you balance prayer with taking action… or when knowing when you taking action is the answer to another’s prayer?