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I don’t believe in prayer

January 27, 2009

A couple months ago I freaked out on Pastor Jon and the Bound4Life Chicago team. You can read the whole story here. The short of it is this: I stood outside a chain link fence and watched as a group of people I did not know defiled the Name of my God by using it as an excuse to badger three of my peers. These three young men stood on the other side of the fence, as far from it as they could get actually, and smoked.

And I hated that I wasn’t inside the fence with them.

I wanted to do something. I wanted the people I was praying for to know that I don’t think less of them, that I don’t dislike them. I wanted them to know that I wasn’t the same as the person yelling into a bullhorn, but I had tape on my mouth.

Prayer is good, but standing there that morning I wanted to do something. I wanted to offer practical help, not just pray at people.

Months later we were getting ready to launch a new student ministry. Our team has gone through some teaching, some brainstorming, and a pad of over-sized Post-It notes.

We’re convinced we can execute this, and we’re confident that the Lord has put a pretty challenging number in front of us. Which brings us back to the question every student ministry pastor in the country is constantly asking, “How do I get them in here?”

I was talking to the Lord about that very question recently. I prayed that He would draw them in, and then I prayed for wisdom and strategy and clever ideas and bold, evangelistic students and He cut me off …

“You don’t think I can do it Myself?”

He reminded me of Acts. Peter’s first sermon was controversial – even antagonistic. The whole congregation was speaking in tongues, and most of the “community” was probably not feeling like they were the focus of that gathering. And yet 3000 people joined the Church that day. The last verse of chapter two says, “… and the Lord added to the church daily.” Then He called me out,

“You don’t believe in prayer.”

Because something deep within me didn’t believe that – really – only God could save babies and heal women, that only God can bring down abortion in this country, that no one – no one – can say that Jesus is Lord unless he is called of the Holy Spirit. I believed in prayer inasmuch as it empowered me and helped me and enabled me to do the work of the kingdom of God … but somewhere in my core I didn’t believe that God delights in answering prayer Himself.

There’s nothing wrong with good works. The Bible says that faith without works is dead. But the Bible also says that without faith it’s impossible to please God. Deep deep deep within me, I didn’t believe that God was enough to solve the problems.

What about you? What’s God calling you out on lately?

5 Comments leave one →
  1. January 27, 2009 11:02 am

    nagging doubt

  2. January 27, 2009 9:59 pm

    I understand exactly what you’re feeling cuz I think I’m there too. It is hard to “just pray”, esp when you’re all fired up to reach souls. I try to remind myself that God is the one in control, I really can’t make anything happen, and I certainly can’t make someone understand the gospel or get saved.

  3. seekingrecklessabandon permalink
    January 27, 2009 11:10 pm

    That I don’t really trust Him. That when I pray and when I am bitter I am doubting His goodness and that He is powerful and in control

  4. January 28, 2009 6:05 am

    Wow…love the concept of this blog. I also like your insight. We’re all on a journey with the Lord learning how to trust and obey.

  5. Lex permalink
    January 28, 2009 8:41 am

    @nancy – Girl, I feel you. Doubt is one of the toughest things – I think – for a lot of Christians to own up to, too. Which makes it that much harder.

    @JC – Thanks! It’s always nice to know I’m not the only one.

    @Jodi – I had Proverbs 3:5-6 taped up in my car for the longest time …

    @Jonathan – Hi! Welcome! Thanks!

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