Posted by: pastormikemcdowell | January 17, 2014

December 17, 2014 “The Trick Of Prayer”

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.” (Matthew 25:35)

Good Morning Servants of the Living Lord!

Since my teen years, I have been a big fan of the “Peanuts” comic strip and its creator, the late Charles Shulz. I am particularly drawn to the character of Linus, who is a bit of a child theologian. I rather identify with him in my own spiritual journey through childhood. There’s no doubt he loves God, but there’s also no doubt that his insights are often limited by his immaturity. I recall one of my favorite strips. “Good Old” Charlie Brown and Linus are outside all bundled up in their warmest winter coats, hats, gloves, etc. and see poor Snoopy in the distance, shivering with cold. Linus says to Charlie Brown “Poor Snoopy looks so cold. Let’s go help him.” They move over to Snoopy, who is shivering, smile, and Linus says, “Be of good cheer, Snoopy!” Charlie Brown adds his own greeting, “Yes, be of good cheer.” Then they leave. The last frame of the cartoon shows Snoopy, still shivering, with a big “?” over his head! This reminds me of something the great Oswald Chambers wrote about prayer. He said,

“See that you do not use the trick of prayer to cover up what you know you ought to do.”

Many people, when hearing of the dilemma of another say, “I’ll be praying for you.” Now you are well aware of the value I place in prayer, but there are occasions when just praying for someone is not what is most required. The old adage “Actions speak louder than words” may be far more applicable. Just as “Faith without works is dead”, (James 2:26), so prayer without action, where action is required, is little more than a trick. Christ admonishes us to be “doers of the word”. So keep on praying, but when able to help change a situation through tangible action, do what you know you ought to do. Let’s pray!

God of Glory; You often bring people into our lives to whom we may minister with particular gifts, resources, and abilities we possess. As we pray for them, may we also be ready to use that which you have already provided to minister to them. Thank you for your bountiful provision poured out upon us to share with those around us. Amen!

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