Summary: In the wake of the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, politicians and many Christians are repeating “Thoughts and prayers are not enough. We need action.” Could it be that they, like many Christians, don’t truly understand prayer and what it can accomplish?
In 2015, after a shooter left 14 dead in California, the cover of the New York Daily News shouted “God Isn’t Fixing This! As the latest batch of innocent Americans are left lying in pools of blood, cowards (referring to politicians) who could truly end gun scourge continue to hide behind meaningless platitudes.”
And the meaning less platitude the newspaper was referring to is this: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families.”
After the recent shootings in El Paso & here in Dayton, several members of Congress almost echoed the exact same thing. Most said “Thoughts and prayers are not enough. We have to take action.” One US congressman even said “We are not going to give thoughts and prayers, which are bull****.”
That tells me something, ladies and gentlemen. It tells me, number one, that they don’t know anything about prayer and what it’s about. That’s the first thing. And the second thing is they don’t pray. And the third thing: they don’t think about acting this way until something happens.
When we say “our thoughts and prayers” are with the families, this it is generally because we’re reacting to something bad that has happened. And this is not a bad thing, ladies and gentlemen, to respond that way. In fact, it’s the right thing to do,
When I hear about a death or tragedy, the first thing I do is pray. And I thank God that His love is manifested and saturates the lives of those who were affected by the tragedy. That’s the first thing I do. Always.
Prayer, ladies and gentlemen – the most effective prayer – is proactive prayer. It’s prayer that gets in the front of something; it not prayer that lags behind and tries to catch up. Last Sunday night, we were proactive in our prayers. We prayed against the violence in our country among other things. That is what we have the authority and the right to do. It’s part of our inheritance.
Let me make some observations about Christians.
? Many really don’t understand prayer.
? Many, and that could be 80 to 90 percent, do not have a prayer life. Ok Bro. Barry, what is a prayer life. A prayer life is when you, on purpose, set time aside to be with your Father and talk with Him about things. It’s who you are. It’s not something that you do when tragedy hits.
Do you understand what I’m saying? When a tragedy strikes, it doesn’t change what you always do. You don’t start praying because there’s a tragedy. Prayer is already a part of your lifestyle.
And that’s what’s wrong with the Body of Christ. They wait until a tragedy strikes and then they want to start praying. And that’s wrong. The devil has already beat them by then. Praying this way is a lot like damage control.
? And those who do pray, don’t pray as passionately as they probably could. Why is that? Because most pray because they’ve been taught that’s what they’re supposed to do. So when a tragedy happens, our reaction is to pray. But oftentimes our hearts are not in the prayers.
? Many don’t pray unless something happens, like the death of a relative, the death of a friend or a tragedy and then they feel compelled to pray. Notice the word that I used. Compelled to pray.
They are not praying because something rises up in them and causes their hearts to ache, causes their hearts to grieve. For most, they pray because “it’s the right thing to do.” Again, there’s nothing wrong with that but praying this way is not the heart of God. He grieves, heavily, when tragedy strikes. We are His children. Our hearts should be heavy too.
Ladies and gentlemen, if that’s how you think about prayer, then you really don’t have a prayer life. You do not have a prayer life.
? Most pray without a sense of urgency. What we did last Sunday night in my mind demonstrated a sense of urgency. It was something that the Lord impressed upon pastor that we cannot put off another night. It has to be done tonight.
Why do most Christians not pray with a sense of urgency? And this is the crux of the message tonight, ladies and gentlemen.
We don’t pray like we should pray. We don’t pray like we could pray. And the reason is because we really don’t believe our prayers will make a difference in our lives or in the lives of others.
The Bible says that when God speaks, His words go forth and they accomplish what He speaks. If we are God’s children, if we have God’s life and nature living in us, then what we speak should come to pass too! But we don’t believe that ladies and gentlemen. Children believe it more than we do.