no, prayer is not the answer14 Nov 2016
i am pretty disturbed by the number of times since trump was elected that i’ve heard variations on prayer being the solution. it has sounded like:
- “all we can do now is pray that it doesn’t get terrible.”
- “pray for him and his people.”
- “i’m praying that you stay safe and you do the same for me.”
if i’m honest, it’s crazy talk like this that made me run from church. although i realize that there are conflicting bible verses about whether prayer on its own is effective or whether it must be combined with action, it just doesn’t make sense to me that sitting or kneeling and thinking is itself going to have any serious impact on anything. i don’t want my friends to pray for my safety, i want them to actually do things that help keep me safe. and vice versa: i’m not just going to sit in my bed and think about my family and friends being safe. i’m going to take action that ensures they stay safe. and if those actions seem impossible, i’m going to encourage them like hell to get out.
last week, i found myself saying to ross, “i’m really hoping this doesn’t go as badly as it could…” he responded, “will be up to the righteous to ensure that.”
faith without deeds is dead. and so we go forward, with hope and action, both.
ps - i don’t often still refer to the bible, but i do remember that james 2: 14-26 used to really resonate with me. for the most part, that passage still does.
14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good[a] is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.