This publication is the response to one of the review questions for a live radio interview on my article: ‘What the Church Refuses to Teach About Christianity;’ the particular question was…
You mentioned praying for greatness as an error, but consider Jabez in 1 Chronicles 4:10, his prayer was not an error; how is that?
At the University, I prayed a lot, led prayer meetings and all, and also did a lot of door-to-door evangelism; especially following up on new members of the main Christian Fellowship. One day, a lady friend of mine told me that back at her hall, one of our junior course mates was giving a testimonial about me, that I was doing well in my course because I had devoted so much time to ‘working for God.’ As much as I gave the glory to God, I also laughed in my head; because that was not the full picture.
I am certain that if this junior course mate was to be called upon to write an inspirational account of my life, on this particular issue, she would just write that: “And Dave devoted his time to prayer, and doing the work of God on campus so God blessed him and therefore he did well in his Academics.” She didn’t know that in my secondary school, I had read three books that contained Zing4Life! principles on ‘How to study, and how to write and pass exams;’ and I was applying them. She didn’t know that at that secondary level I had also read a book that had Zing4Life! principles on ‘How to read very fast and still get deep meanings from the content,’ and I was applying the principles to my studies. Also, she was not aware of the many hours I was sitting up to read and to work. For most years in my life I have slept for 4 hours a day; and even anytime I was leaving for school, my dad would never tell me to study hard; he would rather say: “Make sure you are the best or among the best; and find time to sleep.” This junior course mate also didn’t know that because my Dad was an art master, most of the instruments we used in the Department of Architecture of the university, I had already encountered them and had used the same types of instruments right from age 5. And so on. All these details would have been missing, so the picture they would paint, would not have been complete. This is very common in Christianity; we tend to give ‘short-cut’ messages and ‘short-cut’ accounts. The Bible is compressed, and thus, sometimes misinterpreted; according to John 21:25 and 2 Peter 3:15-17 respectively.
I believe that God answers prayer (Mark 11:24); especially when we ask in the name of Jesus (John 9:4), and in accordance with his will (1 John 5:14). He always hears us and does his part (1 John 5:14-15; Matthew 7:7-11), and sometimes before we pray or finish praying he has already done his part (Isaiah 65:24). Where we miss it is when we have to do our part by taking the appropriate practical action, and yet we are not and are still making long prayers, or even vain babblings.
Ordinarily, or except by a miracle, God cannot give you a physical or earthly thing; He will answer you with ideas, opportunities and/or directions. As to how you turn them into the physical or earthly things you desire, it takes a lot of diligence; hardwork! Even those who would give testimonies of how God has been good to them, and blessed them with good jobs, promotions, cars, houses, and all that; follow them closely, and you will see how hard they work; they are very busy people. (By the way, those things may not necessarily imply the blessings of God) In any case, as Christians, we should target testimonies that will hit the global scale, beyond those limited to our individual needs. What must be emphasise here is that, you cannot make long prayers, and after that make the last part of Psalm 127:2 your favourite verse in the Bible (He gives His beloved sleep; taken out of context anyway) and expect things to happen for you just the way things happen for those who are working hard; with diligent hands. But let’s remember that, “Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it;” as Henry Ford puts it, and as Thomas Edison has observed: “Five percent of the people think; ten percent of the people think they think; and the other eighty-five percent would rather die than think.”
This publication was the response to one of the review questions for a live radio interview on my article: ‘What the Church Refuses to Teach About Christianity;’ for the other review questions and responses you may click here.