No Replacement for Prayer
Life is filled with one decision after another. Many of which can be extremely important. Can you relate to any of these or one like it?
· Should I ask her to be more than a friend?
· Should I seek to begin an intentional courting relationship with her?
· Is he the guy I should be with for the rest of my life?
· Is this the school I should attend or is the other a better option?
· Do I take the job presented to me or remain where I am?
· When should I retire? How do I finish strong?
· How should I use my time while in retirement? What should I do?
· What should I say when I have that important conversation?
· Do I pursue this person or not?
· How do I raise my children to love Jesus?
· Do I move or stay? Speak or be silent? Step out or remain? Say yes or no?
These and other kinds of questions face us at different times of life. They are good questions and extremely important questions. But if you notice, they still are simply questions. Asking questions is good, but all too often, we let questions, advice, reasoning become replacements for actual prayer.
On Sunday I preached from a story of how Joshua & the leaders of Israel were duped by phony messengers into making a covenant with people with whom God told them not to make a covenant. Why? Because from what they could see, these deceitful messengers seemed legit (read it for yourself, Joshua 9). We learn an important lesson from this story.
Reason is no replacement for Prayer!
Joshua and God’s people were tricked because they didn’t ask God for direction. They chose to inspect the situation for themselves and come to their own conclusions.
Instead of standing in judgment of Joshua, I instead see a mirror when reading this story. How often it is that I find myself slow to pray and quick to decide. If you’re like me, we have to ask ourselves, why don’t we pray? As I’ve asked myself this question, I can think of at least 4 reasons why we don’t pray.
- Pride…when we’re confident in ourselves and our abilities, we don’t ask God
- Impatience…we want to make decisions now, and not have to wait
- Lazy…prayer is work, and sometimes the thought of laboring in prayer prevents us from turning to God.
- Fear…maybe we don’t want the answer God will give us, so we don’t pray.
If you remember in the Garden of Eden, the serpent convinced Eve that she should eat the fruit. She looked at it and it was “desirable to her eyes.” It seemed right to her, but she was completely wrong. She needed to pray. I need to pray. You need to pray.
When faced with decisions today, keep this great great Proverb in mind, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths (Proverbs 3:5-6). And remember, there is no replacement for prayer.