I recently finished a book called, Wasted Prayer: Know When God Wants You to Stop Praying and Start Doing by Greg Darley (five stars for this book). The basic premise is that we Christians pray a lot, and when confronted with action, we often say something like, “Let me pray to God, and see if He gives me a clear idea as to what I should do.” And that does often sound really good. I mean really, really good. And pious. And devoted.
But so often that is where things stop. In all honesty, I have been praying about a lot of things, and not doing anything about them. For example, re-engaging in this blog has been at the top of my list for a long time. But I have been doing nothing about it, and wanting so much to see what the “big plan” was all about while ignoring the nagging thought, just write once this week.
Darley recounts the story of Peter’s calling. After a miraculous encounter with Jesus, Peter becomes a disciple (Luke 5). As far as we know, there was no clear plan explained to Peter. We modern day people often want that 100% clear plan before we decide anything. So, imagine if we were the modern day Peter, we’d ask Jesus for all the details, and he’d tell us: We’ll do a lot of walking, you’ll see some miracles, we’ll be challenged by the local politicians, you’ll betray me, you’ll try to kill a Roman soldier, but cut off his ear, you’ll make some amazing speeches, convert a lot of people, and eventually you will be crucified because of me. Peter: well, thanks, Jesus, but I think I’ll fish instead.
The point is, our must-know-it-all world stops us in our tracks, and progress is often really, really slow. Instead, Darley’s idea is to respond to little yeses. “This is the beauty of the small yes. I think it’s one of the ways God protects us. The small yes allows us to deepen our trust in the Father and his call. With each yes, we build a little more trust, gaining a little more confidence for what the next call may be. If God isn’t giving you the entire picture, rest in the possibility that this is a grace allowing you to only focus on the step in front of you.”
So there you have it. I don’t know where this blog will go. Or what I will do next week. But if I am going to follow Jesus, I have to begin walking behind him. And I don’t need prayer to do that.