This morning I was reading along until God rocked my world with this little three letter word… “AND”.
In the book of Nehemiah, the people of God had returned to their broken city after the exile of their forefathers because of disobedience. Now with renewed faith in God, Nehemiah leads the people to rebuild the city walls that had been destroyed years earlier. As they put back stone upon stone, they were met with ridicule from the nations, and threats of attacks from their surrounding enemies.
Nehemiah records: “And they all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause confusion in it. And we prayed to our God and set a guard as a protection against them day and night.” (Nehemiah 4:8-9)
Did you catch that word AND? Nehemiah says the people prayed to God AND set up guards for protection. This means prayer is not passive; prayer is power for action.
Here we see a perfect balance between prayer and action, trust and movement, sovereignty and personality. The people of Israel didn’t just let go and let God, nor did they self-reliantly pick themselves up by their own boot straps. Instead they prayed AND took action. They leaned into God and walked forward in obedience to His will.
This is what trusting-prayer and obedient-action looks like. It is calling upon the name of Lord in complete trust and reliance of Him, while at the same time moving forward in obedience. Therefore we don’t just pray and idly wait for God to remove temptation, but instead with prayer on our lips, we pick up our swords and fight!
This is prayer AND action, trust AND belief.
As Christians we must pray AND do. We must pray for our neighbors to come to Christ AND knock on their door. We must pray for our kids AND teach them the Word of God. We must pray for spiritual growth AND read our bibles. We must pray against lust in our lives AND cut the Ethernet cable if need be.
You see, prayer is more than just kneeling; prayer is walking forward with bruised knees in passionate pursuit of Christ and His Kingdom.