Pray or Act?

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly as I should. –Colossians 4:2-4

Some years ago it was reported that seconds after the kickoff in a memorable soccer match between the Corinthians and Rio Preto at Bahia Stadium in Brazil, Corinthian striker Roberto Rivelino scored a goal, after a single pass, with a left foot drive from the half line. The ball sailed past the ear of Rio Preto goalkeeper Senhor Isadore Irandir while he was kneeling in the goal finishing his pre-match prayers.

Here is a reminder that there is a healthy balance between prayer and action. Prayer is the foundation of our ongoing recognition of God’s rightful place in our lives and that He is our Creator and King. There is no doubt from the Scriptures that God’s people are to be people of prayer. Action is our recognition that God does not primarily work His will in the world without our participation in that work. Notice from today’s Scripture that the Apostle Paul asked people to pray for an open door of opportunity. I think it is significant that Paul didn’t ask for prayer for God to somehow proclaim the good news of Jesus supernaturally, but rather that God would provide the opportunity for Paul to minister the gospel effectively. We see that prayer and action are both parts of how God works.

Over my years as a Christ follower, I have experienced the tension that exists between prayer and action. It’s not always easy to know where and when to move beyond prayer to action or vice versa. Perhaps like me, you know people that seem focused solely on prayer and those who seem focused solely on action. Neither of these approaches is the complete answer. Most of us need to pray more. Some of us need to be willing to act. I believe that each situation in our lives requires balance between prayer and action. Like the goalkeeper, I’ve found that there almost always comes a time when we need to get off our knees and act.

1. When it comes to your life’s situations, what do you tend to focus more on prayer or action? Consider whether or not you need to become more balanced between prayer and action.

2. Ask God to give you wisdom in finding the balance you need between prayer and action.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8; 1 Thessalonians 5:14-16; James 4:13-16

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Jim Liebelt

Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for HomeWord. Jim has 40 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, having served over the years as a pastor, author, editor, consultant, mentor, trainer, college instructor, and speaker. Jim’s HomeWord Culture Blog also appears on Jim and his wife Jenny live in Quincy, MA.

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