Our prayers, when should they stop?
by Mervyn Morelock, Lt. Colonel –
I get a lot of unsolicited e-mail. I have a filter that eliminates spam but some messages, in the form of chain letters, somehow get through. It’s one of the problems all computer users have. Should I send them on as the sender insists I do? Sometimes the promise is “good luck” or “special blessings.” The implication is that if I don’t send them on, I’ll have a string of bad luck or no blessings at all! I haven’t quite figured out what to do, so in most cases, I just stop forwarding them. I guess I’ll just have to take my chances on the bad luck or lack of blessings!
I have many handwritten notes in the margin of my old Bible—comments I’ve heard from a preacher or teacher. It’s a kind of personal commentary. Some were copied from one of Commissioner Brengle’s old Bibles years ago.
The note written next to Exodus 14:15 suggested the title and theme for the article today. It describes the first days of the escape by the Jews as they left Egypt on their journey to the Promised Land. The Passover had taken place, Jewish families had hurriedly packed their belongings, gathered their loved ones and flocks and were rushing to the borders of Egypt. The armies of Pharaoh were in hot pursuit, and the Red Sea was in front of them. What to do?
Moses said to the frantic, wailing people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today” (Exodus 14:13). And then the Lord interrupted Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. Raise your staff and stretch out your hand” (Exodus 14:15).
My Bible margin note says, “Stop praying and move out! Forward, March!”
Does God answer prayer? Yes, he does, all the time! The Red Sea opened and the Israelites marched through on dry land.
Sometimes we hear people praying over and over again for something or for someone. But God wants us to stop praying and DO something! People pray for a job, but never look for one. Some pray that they will be healed, but never see a doctor. Some seek to restore a broken relationship, but don’t say, “I’m sorry!” Some pray to stop smoking, and go out and buy cigarettes. Stop praying. Move out!
It’s like the joke told of the woman who prayed: “Lord help me win the lottery! Help me win the lottery!” Over and over, she prayed. Finally, a voice from heaven responded, “Give me a break, buy a ticket!” Now I don’t encourage buying lottery tickets, but you get the point. Let’s DO something about our prayers!
Want a revival? Pray, learn how to share the Good News of Jesus, then go speak to someone! Want to play a solo? Practice!
You will remember in Luke 15 the story of a man who, in the middle of the night, knocked on his neighbor’s door to ask for bread so he could feed unexpected guests. The neighbor answered, “Go away, we are all in bed!” But he kept on knocking until finally he was given bread. Sometimes this story is told about persistence in prayer— and so we should be—but the point is, he DID something!
Here’s a prayer, while you are DOING something to demonstrate God’s love: “Father, I ask you to bless my friends, relatives and those that I care deeply for, who are reading this right now. Show them a new revelation of your love and power. Holy Spirit, I ask you to minister to their spirit at this very moment. Where there is pain, give them your peace and mercy. Where there is self-doubt, a release and a renewed confidence through your grace. Where there is need, I ask you to meet their needs. Bless their homes, families, their goings and their comings. In Jesus’ precious name. Amen.”
Stop praying? No, but BE a blessing to your family and friends. Demonstrate God’s love!