Whatcha’ Preaching – When not to Pray

Years ago when Nina and I moved to Living Waters Youth Camp in Hayden, Alabama to serve the Lord with the Ragland family. Brooklyn was a baby and we literally had no financial support at the time. We were going to serve as home missionaries and looking back now, the line between faith and foolishness seems extremely blurry. However, we learned more about the faithfulness of the Lord in six months than I dare say we would have in six years, had we followed conventional wisdom.

Our home would be a very old, worn-out single-wide trailer that had been vacant more than not for the previous decade. Of the exact time-table I can not be sure, but as we begin to clean the trailer and get ready to move in, there were moments where certain tasks seemed daunting. Getting the trailer ready to live in was definitely one of the first of said tasks.

When we finally got moved in, one evening we noticed that the refrigerator wasn’t cooling like it should. Then we noticed that the light was out and discovered that the it had decided to forego any more service to the Lord and had given up the ghost.

Bro. Mike, the director of the camp, came and looked at it and agreed with our assessment. We could no longer count on our refrigerator. So, naturally, I started trying to figure out how we could live without one. It was winter, in fact. And, it got pretty cold inside the trailer. It had those old roll-out windows, all of which had broken, were missing the handle and/or just wouldn’t roll completely shut.

As I once heard a country preacher from North Carolina say, “You could throw a cat through any one of those windows.”

I knew we couldn’t live without a refrigerator, but we didn’t have any money at all. It wasn’t that we just didn’t have enough money. We didn’t have any. Not even a bit. None. Zero.

Plus, we had a pile of debt. Obviously the situation was less than ideal. But as is the Lord’s custom, He proved to us that we could depend on Him. He proved to us that no matter what, He would take care of us.

I believe it was the next evening, either a Sunday or a Monday, when we heard the Raglands arriving home from evening service or a special meeting. But instead of parking their truck in its normal place, it sounded like they were backing up to the trailer door. Sure enough, ten seconds later, we heard a knock on the door and Bro. Mike asked if I could come help him with something. When I opened the door, he was loosening the strap to a large, refrigerator size cardboard box.

I asked what was in the box and he said, “Your new refrigerator.” Dumbfounded I stood there having previously no expectation of receiving such a costly appliance, from anyone. I replied with surprise saying, “Thank you, but you didn’t have to do that.”

You know what he said? “Some things you just don’t need to pray about.”

I’d never heard that before, but it makes sense. Think about what James wrote, “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him, it is sin.” James 4:17

If we know that we should do something, but we neglect to do it for whatever reason, the Bible calls that sin. It isn’t written that if we know that we should do something, and we don’t pray about it, then it is sin. No, when we get to the point where we see people with needs and we possess the ability to meet those needs, the praying part is finished.

Jesus didn’t have to pray about whether to heal the man’s hand on the sabbath day. The man needed his hand restored. Jesus had the power to do it. Why wait? Why debate the finer points of the sabbath day?

He was Lord of the sabbath, by the way. The sabbath was created for man, not the other way around. The man needed his hand to work so that he could get a job and provide for his family. He was obviously suffering on various levels. Jesus healed him, thumbed his nose in the religious elite’s face, and by doing so said, “Some things you just don’t need to pray about.”

There are times when there should not be any more meetings, or deliberations, or wavering, or pondering, or planning.

Don’t get me wrong. Don’t think that I am saying that we could use this decision not to pray as a guise for doing whatever we wish. No, we are speaking in terms of clear-cut needs of others or personal duties towards or towards God.

Let me go on record to say that tithing falls into this very category. You don’t need to pray about whether you should tithe. God has no desire to answer that prayer because he has already clearly stated His opinion.

God’s Word is crystal clear on the matter. Various authors in various books spell it out for us in the Bible. We must honor the Lord with the first-fruits of our increase. You don’t need to pray about it. You just need to do it.

Here’s another one for you. You don’t need to pray about whether you should faithfully attend worship services in a local biblically sound church. If we are physically able to go, there is no need to discuss it any more. You and I need the local church and on some level, we can say that the local church needs you and me.

Listen to what D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones says about this same subject in his book on Spiritual Depression:

Constantly I find myself having to ask people this question – they come to me about some problem or difficulty and they say: ‘I have been praying about this’, and I say: ‘My friend, do you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost?’ That is the answer. I say it again at the risk of being misunderstood, but such friends in a way need to pray less and think more.

Let’s pause there in the middle of the quote to let the last part settle in our hearts. He said that in some respects and in some situations, we need to pray less and think more. God gave every one of us good sense, and He fully expects us to use it.

Do you ever wonder why the Lord seems to be ignoring some of your prayers? Is it that He has already answered them? Is it that He simply wants you to think about it for a moment and arrive at the proper conclusion? We shouldn’t have to be force fed in prayer.

Should I tithe? Think about it. Should I faithfully attend church? Think about it! When I can, should I help others? Think about it, please. Let’s look back at the rest of the Lloyd-Jones quote, for the full effect.

They must remind themselves that their bodies are the ‘temples of the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us’. Prayer is always essential, but thought is essential, too, because prayer can be just an escape mechanism, almost at times a cry in the dark by people who are desperate and defeated. Prayer must be intelligent, and it is only to those who realize that their bodies are the temples of the Holy Ghost that the answer will be given and power will come.

Don’t be one of those people who as a ruse say they are praying about something simply because they have already fallen into the desperate and defeated category.

Stop praying and start doing.

  • nina

    Awesome! I cant wait to hear it in Portuguese tomorrow! 🙂

  • http://myinvisiblecrown.com Christy @ My Invisible Crown

    That was awesome Michael! I need to figure out how to get the pod casts…oh wait. They would be in Portuguese just like Nina said right? Although I do love listening to you speak it that won’t work!

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