There. I said it.
I don’t care how much we pray, if we don’t get up off of our knees and do the work of Jesus. What good are our prayers if we aren’t getting dirty everyday in helping our blood family? Whether we’re related by earthly blood, or the blood of Jesus. Whether it’s those living under our roof, or under another roof, or under no roof at all. If we aren’t awash in the grit and grime and mess of the everyday among both the lost and the saved, what is the point of prayer?
“Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?” -James 2:15-16 (NIV)
Or, for the 21st century version: “I’ll pray for you!”
It’s great that there is a national day when we can come together as believers and pray, but I think I would rather see a National Day of Serving Orphans & Widows.
Pray. Pray hard. Pray often. Pray long, angry, joyful, repentant, humble, short, sobbing, wordless prayers. Pray until your knees wear out. We are called to pray, even when we don’t know what words to use. We must call on God. We must. Alone and together, we need to pray.
But when you come out of your War Room, work.
Wait on the Lord. Literally — wait on Him, hand and foot, by waiting on every person you ever come in contact with.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ -Matthew 25:34-40 (NIV)
I don’t see anywhere in that list where it says “You participated in the National Day of Prayer every year.”
Feed and clothe people who need it. Even if you don’t know them.
Be hospitable, even if your house is a mess or too small. People don’t mind being crowded if they’re loved.
Share something with someone–your time, your work, your ear, your shoulder, your food, your skills. (Mind you, these are just ideas, based on my personal convictions — follow the convictions God lays on YOUR heart.)
Again. Prayer is vital. I am not saying that it isn’t. We need prayer in order to know God, and to be equipped to work our butts off loving people.
What I am saying is that our prayer time should never take priority over the “least of these” right in front of us. Beginning with our children, expanding out into our nearby family, and growing to encompass our fellow believers, and ultimately, the world.
I know I am not doing enough. I know I have never done enough.
“I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” -Maya Angelou
And I pray to God I do better everyday (see? prayer is important!). And then I do it.