Know that the Lord has set apart his faithful servant for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him.
Psalm 4:3 ESV
It’s easy to forget that God works in this world.
One kind of distraction that blinds us most easily is an earthly solution.
Businesses are literally paying advertising money to give us earthly solutions:
- 5 Ways to Make Your Business Profitable
- 7 Tips for Getting Out of Debt
- 9 Sage Proverbs for Getting Over Your Bad Relationship
- What to Do When You’re Diagnosed: The Definitive Guide
Why pray when you can just click?
Of course, there is nothing wrong with being industrious and diligent to resolve our earthly problems. Jesus commands us to do as much: “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves” (Matt. 10:16).
But life hacks can easily blind us to the reality of prayer because prayer is not a life hack. Prayer is casting ourselves on the mercies of God, trusting that even his painful “Yes” and “No” is according to “Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 1:24).
And yet, we are still called to pray so that God will act. This is so true that Jesus says that we ought to annoy God with our requests—not because God is wicked, but because he is faithful.
Theologian William Temple once said, “When I pray, coincidences happen.”
We do not live in a closed, materialistic universe that only moves when we move. We live in God’s world. Therefore, let’s be diligent in work. Let’s be wise in our preparation. Let’s be industrious with our life hacks.
But when the breakup happens, when the pink slip comes, and when the diagnosis is given, “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful” (Col. 4:2).
Be diligent in prayer.
God works in this world beyond our machinations.
And he not only works—“all things work together for good to those who love God” (Romans 8:28).
God is industrious on our behalf.
He is working his way toward us.
He wants to be in a close relationship with each of us if we would only pray.
What’s the best place to start?
- Start a prayer journal. This will enable you to keep track of your prayers each day so that you don’t lose sight of God’s faithfulness in the long term.
- Start a prayer meeting. This will get you outside your own head so that you can use prayer, not only as a tool to develop your own faith but as a ministry of mercy to others.
- Read pre-written prayers. Sometimes, prayer is hard. Don’t let that be an obstacle to getting in the habit.
Don’t let logistics or lack of momentum rob you of the opportunity to experience the joy of asking and receiving from your heavenly father. He wants to give you good things: “What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent” (Luke 11:11).
When suffering ensues, don’t forget—pray.
You might not know what will happen.
But you do know he will act.
Today’s devotion by Dr. Paul Maxwell, a published theologian who serves as the Content Strategist at Tithe.ly. He lives in Indianapolis with his beautiful wife and rowdy wheaten terrier. You can connect with him on twitter at @paulcmaxwell.