The Body of Christ needs to stop using prayer as an excuse for laziness, a megapastor in South Carolina proclaimed, sharing the same sentiments as a few atheists who criticized believers in this manner.
All too often, Christians hide inactivity behind prayer, hoping things would get better without taking any action themselves, Perry Noble, senior pastor of NewSpring Church revealed.
“Prayer is a powerful weapon which we should make more use of in the church,” he stated on his blog, “However, God did not call us to pray about His will but also to participate in it.”
Like Noble, many people, including nonbelievers, observed this growing tendency in Christians to pray without action.
Though Christians are willing to pray about things, they would end it there, thinking they had done their part. Then they would “get angry at God because He did not do something amazing to compensate for our laziness and passivity.”
It was like trying to “pray the pounds away” without exercising, adopting better eating habits and a healthier lifestyle; or like “praying back your marriage into a great place.
If husbands desired to restore their relationships, they had to “turn the freakin TV off” and start to pursue their wife again while wives likewise had to stop gossiping about their husband to their friends or children.
“If you are broke then you are not going to just ‘pray money into your bank account.’ You are going to have to put God first in your finances. You are going to have to stop spending money you don’t have to buy things you don’t need to impress people you don’t like,” Noble also added.
Prayer without action was not going to resolve the situation. Though it was essential, necessary and commanded in the Scriptures, it was not in any way a “cover” for laziness.
“Don’t just pray to God...but participate with God as He moves, the preacher reiterated.
Blair Scott, an atheist and board member of American Atheists, recently criticized “theists” for praying to God in a crisis while staying in “stagnant mode.”
“They were hiding under a desk (as we witnessed at Columbine) or were hiding in a basement or bathroom (such as in tornado activity) or were doing something else that left them inactive during the crisis,” Scott noted on the AA blog.
“Those that were taking action talk about thanking their God after-the-fact [of the crisis]. The atheists on the other hand, thank the firefighters, police officers, rescuers, medical doctors, etc.”
It was a great misunderstanding of the Christian faith to think prayer led to fatalism or passivity, Erik Thoennes, professor of biblical and theological studies at Biola University, told The Christian Post.
“A properly understood biblical understanding of faith in a sovereign God never leads to passivity but active engagement with our world,” he asserted. “God's plan is worked out in and through real life and our actions.”
Throughout the history of the church, Christians had often been major contributors and leaders of great movement, for instance, William Wilberforce with the abolition of slavery, Dietrich Bonhoffer opposing Nazism, and Martin Luther King with the Civil Rights Movement, Thoennes detailed.
Though they ultimately rested in God’s sovereign power and wisdom, they moved and acted for good.
Reminding Christians to be an active participant in prayer, Noble hoped that this year, “we don’t just pray big prayers...but we take bold steps and believe that as we pray and participate we will see God do amazing things!”
Perry Noble is the founding and senior pastor of NewSpring Church in Anderson, S.C. The church averages 14,000 people during weekend services at multiple campuses throughout the state.