Just or Only?
“We cannot all argue, but we can all pray; we cannot all be leaders, but we can all be pleaders; we cannot all be mighty in rhetoric, but we can all be prevalent in prayer.” -C.H. Spurgeon
“In all circumstances take up the shield of faith…praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.” -Ephesians 6:16,18
Frustration sets in when those we love make wrong decisions. It often leads to whacky turns down crazy avenue, and then they jump off oblivion bridge into a river of mistakes. Many times it gets worse as the aggravation segues into pain for us as we watch them wallow in misery. Pacing the floor with brooded faces, we ask ourselves, while shaking our heads, “Why did they do that?” Throwing our hands in the air, we may say out loud, “What were they thinking?”
Politics and the Pandemic also make for an unwanted irritation these days. We have been pushed to the limits of our emotional sanity and serenity. I’ve heard it more times than I care to know, “All we can do now is just pray.” Really? “Just” pray? When you repeat that excessive and contrived word, “just”, it reveals a critical spiritual flaw. It often sounds like prayer is our last resort. Prayer cannot be treated like the proverbial red-headed stepchild. Prayer should be serious business to us. I just (now that’s an accurate use of the word) don’t like it when we treat it frivolously. Let me just go ahead and say it…stop saying, “All we can do now is just pray.” Maybe the only thing we can do is pray, but not just pray.
There it is…there is a difference in just praying and only praying. Just conveys defeat or a flippant attitude, and maybe even non-belief. It signals a lack of faith in Christ and maturity in Him. Only praying elevates the urgency and sufficiency of our need in Christ and Christ alone. Aren’t Christians going to be shocked one day on the other side, in glory, that we possessed that overlooked ability to readily get in touch with Almighty God? So many are going to lament over the fact that the simple act of fervent prayer in our lives was way more important than the ability to preach before thousands. Yes, I believe there will be a certain remorse (even though I am sure there is no lament or remorse in heaven) that assuming a posture of bowing to God in silence and waiting upon Him was more essential to our lives than finding the exact right modern church with hopped up worship.
Prayer, for me, then becomes sacred…and it took me a long, long time to get to this point. When I say, “I pray for you”, that means your name is written in my prayer manual and I call out your name specifically before God. It’s sacred and serious to me these days because instead of chasing a dead-end dream of being the pastor of the coolest church in town, or being that pastor that is always at the hospital, or the pastor that sported the latest fashion while drinking Espresso with church members, I want to be known as the pastor that truly prayed for the flock he was watching. I desire to know everyone by name and be responsible to see them mature in Christ. And one more thing about prayer…it takes time, a lot of time. Time is a precious commodity, use it wisely…pray more.
Update: Keep praying! It’s the only way of life for Christ-followers. This may definitely be the week that we receive our permit to break ground. The Pandemic set us back a little, however, my prayer, and your prayer should be that we are in our new building by Christmas. Carpenters for Christ are still committed to come, but it may be August/September. While the world debates what’s right and wrong, let’s be faithful to our God by giving, serving, and loving. Peace…and have a Great Day, PGD.