Is prayer the same as doing nothing? About a week ago I read a blog post with a readership I could only hope for one day. The article said that the first assignment that Jesus gave to the disciples was to “Do Nothing.” I whole-heartedly disagree with what that implies. I think I agree with the premise the writer had to convey the significant vitality of the Holy Spirit. But when Jesus said “Wait”, it did not mean “Do Nothing.” The disciples certainly understood it to mean “Pray”.
Is it possible that we have come to a place where prayer is seen as an idle activity with little result in the western church?
In my book, The Gospel Unleashed, I suggest a three stranded rope as a strategy, and the first strand is prayer. As I share the significance of prayer, people tend to react with “Yeah, I know that, but what do I do.” How did we allow our prayer life to be relegated to “Do Nothing?”
For several days I have suggested that “Waiting” means much more than idly sitting around killing time until something happens. I suggested an acrostic: Watch – Abide – Intercede – Trust. I am trying to walk through those thoughts and let them sink into my heart. It is time to talk about the word “Trust” but before I address that, I wanted to just plead again for us to understand the critical importance of Jesus’ command.
One of my friends wrote to me to remind me of the historical distinctness of Pentecost in Acts 2. I agree with Him that there is something unique there. The first disciples were waiting for Jesus to send the Holy Spirit to indwell them permanently for the very first time in history. But we must not miss that He also simultaneously filled them. We are permanently in-dwelt by God’s Spirit at the point of salvation ( I realize some of my Pentecostal friends may disagree, but you cannot ignore Romans 8:9).
But the filling of the Spirit is repeatable again and again.
Since we cannot do anything without Christ, we are absolutely dependent upon the filling of the Spirit. We must linger in our prayer closets regularly for God to fill us so that He can use us. As I mentioned the other day, if God has given us 24 hours a day, and ultimately we exist to glorify Him, can we not heed the request of Jesus to James, John, and Peter in Gethsemane to “watch with Him one hour?” Can we not seek to abide in Him continually? Can we not remember that we are to stand between a needy world and the providing God? Wait. Much more than do nothing.