Have you ever had something that you needed to get done, a job or an assignment, but you know it’s going to be hard? So, you start praying about it hoping that prayer will somehow make it go away.
I was a youth worker a few years ago and part of that role was to fundraise for the organisation. We were at our Monday morning staff meeting and I was asked what I was going to do for fundraising that week. With a groan I asked, “Can I pray about it?” My leader responded with, “Yes… then what are you going to do?” I wasn’t trying to be spiritual and I wasn’t wanting to pray in faith, I just didn’t want to have to ask people for money because it terrified me.
God did not design prayer to get us out of doing the things He has asked us to do. Prayer empowers action. Prayer opens doors that we then walk through.
3 Ways Prayer Empowers But Doesn't Replace Action.
Prayer brings peace within the struggle
The Holy Spirit is always present. He is close to you in your struggles, doubts and anxiety. When prophesying the coming of the Holy Spirit, Jesus also shared that His peace would be ours, which reveals a connection between Jesus’ peace and the Holy Spirit.
Prayer opens our heart to a relationship with the Holy Spirit so that we can receive the peace of Jesus.
“…the counsellor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you…Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14: 26-27
The receiving of peace is not the end goal, the peace we receive empowers us to act. It gives us the courage to make that phone call, confront that employee, quit that job, plant that church; it gives courage to be vulnerable and intimate with your wife or husband.
Prayer brings revelation for strategies of how to overcome
For me, this is a fun aspect of prayer – receiving strategies for how to best serve God is exciting. I love thinking and praying about big picture vision and strategies. How we as the church can fully engage with our communities in serving, evangelism, teaching, etc. all of this comes through strategies revealed by the Holy Spirit.
The trick though is that once I receive the strategies, I need to be willing to act on them. Thinking strategically is fun, acting on them is often terrifying. Prayer is not just for getting strategies but also for empowering us to live them out.
Prayer builds our identity in God rather than performance
Are you willing to do things God’s way instead of your own, even if your way seems better? To be a doer without being a pray’er is much like being a dog trainer without a dog. You can do a lot of things without prayer but kingdom work finds its substance in prayer. Not because prayer gets God involved but because prayer gets us involved with God. Prayer aligns us to what He is doing.
To learn more about building your identity in God you can read my blog post How knowing God helps you to know yourself.
How do I get in on what God is doing?
Approach Him with an open mind
We all have dreams and we all have things on our heart, some are from God and others aren’t. It takes a brave person to fully surrender those dreams to God and allow him to sift through and mould them to align with his perfect purpose for your life and the people around you.
Lose your agenda because your life is no longer yours
It’s so easy for Christians to forget that we have been bought by the blood of Christ. We belong to Him. He is good and kind, yes, but the cost of salvation is that you now live for His glory and not your own. This brings great joy if you are on board with it but if you’re not and instead are pulling in another direction, you will fill your life with nothing but frustration. Lose your agenda and you will find the joy that comes with being aligned with God’s purpose.
Take the pressure off yourself
Prayer is a benefit that not everyone gets to enjoy. So many people live their lives never knowing the peace and empowerment of the Holy Spirit. You don’t have to carry the wait of everything you do, you can rather share that load with Christ. Partnering with Christ in prayer allows us to walk long and well and with joy.
Continue learning about how prayer and action intertwine here
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