Inaction Nullifies Prayer

Let me begin by making something crystal clear. If you read this and you’re assuming that I’m saying Prayer is pointless, you are reading this post incorrectly.

Alright, let’s get right into it. In the past few weeks, a whole load of crap has been happening in this country. You’d have to have been living under a rock to not have been aware of it. To be honest, a lot of evil has been happening all around the world. Some we know of, some we don’t. Some we care about, some we don’t. Whatever the issues maybe – different people respond differently. There are those who respond by changing their Facebook profile picture to raise awareness to an incident. Others rant about the evils of this world on television or on their blogs, others send their love and good vibes, and then there are those who send their prayers.

I don’t know about you – but during these horrible events that have taken place, be it the Paris shootings or the Orlando Pulse Nightclub shootings or any of the other tragic events that show the depravity of man and the depths of evil, I’ve seen Christians get on social media and post about sending “their thoughts and prayers” to those affected. Some of these posts are exposition-heavy and emotional while there are some that just say “sending our prayers to *insert tragic event victims here.*”

In response to these posts about sending prayers, I’ve seen plenty of non-religious posts mocking them. I’ve seen posts where the gist basically states that our prayers are pointless. Prayers, to those who don’t believe, are like phone calls that are never answered. They see us praying, then tomorrow another shooting occurs and they point and question us – what did your prayers accomplish?

(Let me add here that I’m no expert in religion. This is just me writing about what I’ve witnessed and forming an opinion on it. It might be completely wrong. I’m aware of that.)

Some Christians will argue that this mockery of our prayers is persecution. To an extent, I’ll agree. But at some point I have to tell them to grow a spine and deal with it. Mockery isn’t getting you killed. Mockery isn’t taking away your freedom to pray. Deal with it. You were warned in scripture that this would happen. 2 Chronicles 36:16 says, “but they continually mocked the messengers of God, despised His words and scoffed at His prophets…” This is a type of persecution I can live with.

Look, I could get on the case of the mockers and chastise them for doing what they are. But I can’t hold them to the same regard as I hold Christians. In fact, Paul asks in 1 Corinthians 5:12, “For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?” I can’t speak to what non-believers say or do, because it’s not in my place to do so. That is God’s job.

However, while I’m not judging them for their mockery of our prayers, I have to consider where they’re coming from. If all someone sees in a Christians’ life is that they are praying, but doing nothing else and then tragedy strikes, it is hard to fault them for their mockery. Think about it: when we see people who send “good vibes,” yet doing nothing else, aren’t we thinking the same thing? Aren’t we mocking them (loudly or silently) about how good vibes are simply silly or pointless?

Listen, I’m not comparing prayer to good vibes. I fully and truly believe in the power of prayer. I do believe that God hears us through our prayers. I do believe that not praying is NOT a solution. That being said, there is a story I read that I want to share.

There was once a man who was forced on his roof because of a flood. As he was on his roof, he prayed that God would save him. After a day, a man in a canoe came by to get him. The man said, “I don’t need a canoe, God will save me.” The next day, a police motorboat came by to get him. The man responded, “I don’t need a police motorboat, God will save me.” On the third day, a helicopter came by to get him. He said, “I don’t need a helicopter, God will save me.” The next day the man died and was facing God. He asked Him, “God, I prayed and prayed, yet I died. Did you not hear my prayers?” God responded, “I did. I sent you a man in a canoe, a police motorboat, and a helicopter and you ignored all of them. What more were you looking for?”

This little story is an oversimplification of prayer, but I think it gets the point across. Inaction nullifies prayer. Again, I do believe in the power of prayer. However, if all we do is pray and sit in our homes twiddling our thumbs hoping change will happen – I doubt it will. To pull from scripture again:

  • So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. James 4:17
  • And that servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. Luke 12:47
  • For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. 2 Peter 2:21

I get it. Sometimes, we just cannot do anything but pray. When some terrorist goes and shoots up a joint, we really can’t do much beyond pray for the return of Christ and for an end of all this evil. But, how about the things we can do something about? There is a group of people I’ve met in South Carolina, that prays for a community in the city of Columbia that needs to be taken care of. Then they go and physically serve that community. There are those people who back their prayers with action. These folks don’t have to worry about being mocked. They have proof of the effects of their prayer – their actions. Even if these guys and gals are mocked, they have the backbone to take it. Because their faith is stronger that “persecution.”

I’m not saying I do all of this perfectly. I admit (as much as I hate it), that I’m struck with apathy more than anything else. Which leads to a lack of both prayer and action. This whole post, while focused on actions and prayers is also a wake up letter to me. That I need to reflect the scriptures better than I have.

I hope this post helps you, Christian, to think. For those that do not believe, I do hope this shows that we do attempt to perform actions along with our prayer. Our actions may fail, but prayer never does. We may not see it immediately. But our actions come from our prayers.

– αß

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Write What?

One of the most frustrating things as a (wannabe) writer is not knowing what to write about. The unfortunate thing is that there is a ton to write about. Look around you. With the insanity of the racial tensions in this country, with the circus that has been created of our political system, and with the continual existence of decaffeinated coffee – there is a lot of things to write about.

The problem for someone like me is that I’m not well read enough in most of these things to warrant having an actual post about them (well, the decaf coffee problem is something I have words for but not right now).

Sure, the solution is fairly simple if you consider it. I can spend some time looking at whatever issue is plaguing the country, think about it, write about it and in doing so resolve every problem that exists and then be hailed as the champion of the people (step aside Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson).

The problem isn’t necessarily that there isn’t anything to write about. Rather its wanting to write about everything that is going on. The hard part is categorizing what to share my opinion on right now. Is the issue of racial tension more important than the political disaster that is our election season? I don’t know. Being a man of color, I have my thoughts that I want to share. But at the same time, this year I became a citizen and that means I get to vote. Which means I want to talk about politics (though I really hate politics. But with this election season being more of a circus I can enjoy writing about it).

These two examples are only the ones that majority people are talking about right now. There are many other things that I think I want to write about.

Being a Christian is one of the most important things in my life. However, there are issues within churches that I see on the regular that I need to write about (though this is more for me venting, rather than expecting change). Sure, there are also great things that happen within the church that is worth writing about. But the cynic in me prefers talking about the negativity. That’s a me problem.

One of the topics I know I want to write about is relationships. I cannot express to you how much I want to write about relationships. Unfortunately, (#spoilers), what I write on relationships is, as far as I can tell, going to be cynical and mean. The problem with that is, (and I really wish this didn’t worry me) most of the people who I do know are in relationships and they may not take lightly to me mocking their current life status. However, once I get over that worry, writing about it is going to be fun.

From what I’ve seen other writers do, they write about the events going on in their lives. While that is a legitimate idea, my life really isn’t too eventful. You’d have more of an exciting time reading War and Peace rather than reading about my everyday life. That’s not to say that things don’t happen to and around me that’s worth sharing. Occasionally, I have a squirrel talk to me or someone serve me decaf coffee and I make them cry – those events are worth sharing and I will. But on a regular basis, my life isn’t that eventful. At least for now.

Regardless of the struggle of finding something to write about, I do want to keep up the habit of continually writing. There are a few reasons for this. One: I want to be a better writer. That’s a given. Being the academic that I am, I have to write a lot. But academic writing is usually boring. Instead, writing for fun and hopefully growing as a writer might help me in other times where writing is mandatory. Two: I want to learn how this website works. I’m working on a website for an organization and I’d rather not have their website be where I make mistakes as I learn. Keeping up this website can help me learn the ins and outs of WordPress and then what is learned can be applied to the other. Three: Hopefully, as I continue to write on current events, I can become a better comic and a social commentator. One of the things I’m thankful that we are blessed with in this world is humor. What I want to do is use humor intelligently. I’m not clever enough to be witty about current events on the fly. I need to think about it and writing helps. This is probably the only time I might want whoever reads this blog to think. Most of my posts are going to be simply humorous for the sake of humor. If it makes you smile or laugh – it’s done its job. But there may be a few posts here and there that’s my take (cynical as it may be) on what is currently happening in the world. While these are going to be written from a comic’s point of view – I do hope they can get the reader thinking.

Essentially, this blog is going to be like my Facebook statuses. But longer. If I can actually decide what the hell to write about.

– αß