God-Worshiping: Prayer and action
Saying the memory verse together at suppertime will imprint it on the hearts of your children forever.
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
But we prayed to our God and posted a guard.
David Feddes, a preacher and Bible teacher, says this about prayer and action:
Prayer is marvelous, but it's not an excuse to do nothing. In many situations, even as we pray, we also need to take action, using our God-given common sense and the God-given resources that are available to us.
Sometimes prayer without action is based on the notion that there's no connection between normal processes and divine activity. According to this line of thinking, something isn't really a work of God unless it is sudden, supernatural and miraculous. But that's not what the Bible teaches. Scripture says, "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it" (Psalm 24:1). God doesn't just work through the startling events we call miracles. It's wonderful when he does, but that's not his only way of working, or even his usual way. God is constantly active in the physical and the natural and the non-miraculous aspects of this world. The whole earth is his, along with the things and people and inventions in it, and so we can look for God's hand in the ordinary events and opportunities that come our way.
There are some situations where we need to pray for nothing less than a miracle, but in a great many situations, we should pray for God's help and blessing and then look for practical ways he's provided in this world of his to make that blessing a reality.
JUST THE FACTS
How well did you listen to the story?
Q. What was Grandpa's assignment for Liz and Lucille's church school class?
A. To interview people and find out their prayer stories.
Q. What did Jenny pray about?
Q. After she prayed, what action did she take?
A. She took babysitting classes.
Q. What was Mark praying about?
A. His brother's need for financial support for the mission field.
Q. What action did Mark take?
A. Mark organized a craft fair to raise money.
Q. What did Liz when the old man chased him away?
A. He prayed for him.
Q. What action did Liz and his friends take?
A. They cut his lawn.
This question is meant to help the children develop a biblical understanding of God, who He is and what He does. The "answer" is not meant for parents to read to their children. Rather its purpose is to assist parents in guiding the conversation to this biblical understanding. We encourage you to use an open Bible in this conversation, building biblical literacy and well as a biblical theology.
Why do we have to take action if we've prayed about something? Why does God expect us to work as well as pray?
Read Nehemiah chapters 1-4 with your family this week. Notice how Nehemiah combined prayer and action. Here are a few examples: Chapter 1 and 2, Nehemiah prayed and then approached the king about going to Jerusalem. Chapter 4: 4-6, Nehemiah prayed and rebuilt the wall. Chapter 4:14, Nehemiah prayed and posted a guard and kept working on the wall. In each of these instances, Nehemiah did not stop with his prayer; he followed it up with action. But he never took credit for the progress they made (see verse 14-15, 20).
God has chosen to work in this world through his people. God created us to be caretakers of his creation (Genesis 1:27, 28). God assigned us the work of bringing the gospel to the nations of the earth (Matthew 28:19, 20). Through prayer and action we are partners with Christ in making God's kingdom a reality. Prayer without action is often futile. And, action without prayer is a recipe for disaster. Prayer and action—Spirit directed action—is the most effective way to meet the challenges and opportunities of our lives.