Monday, March 20, 2006

Dirty hands

I don't know why, but lately I've been feeling weaker in the spirit. I told myself that I need to adjust something -- probably my prayer life -- because I felt like God wasn't listening to me anymore. It was a pretty hurtful feeling.

In a strange turn of events, I was instant messaging my best friend today when the question of our prayer lives resurfaced. While I was talking with her (well, more like typing), I remembered a really good quote that I once heard: "Jesus is more impressed with dirty hands, not dirty knees."

When I first heard this quote, I didn't get it. But after thinking about it, I started to realize that maybe I was asking for the wrong things when I prayed. Was I asking God to do things that I could get up and do myself? Was I spending too much time getting my knees dirty and not enough time getting my hands dirty?

I think that we spend so much time on our knees trying to get God to reveal things for us, that we don't spend enough time looking around for His revelations. God provides us the opportunity to find Him in virtually any situation and around virtually any type of person. God's revelations could come from annoying co-workers, the morning news, the guy we ran into on the elevator, physical examinations...anything! I guess what I'm trying to say is: we don't always have to bow down in prayer to find God's revelations.

Don't get me wrong. I fervently believe in prayer. More importantly, I believe in the power of prayer; especially in dealing with things that are beyond anyone's control. But, I also believe that prayer is not just about calling on God to 'do something' or to 'reveal something'. Rather, prayer also includes us asking God for the wisdom and the courage neccesary for us to experience Him, to live for Him, and to live through Him. After all, that's all a part of our calling, right?!

I believe that we can get a sense of individual empowerment if we spend enough time on our knees in prayer. But if we stay on our knees begging God to do something for us that we could do ourselves, aren't we really praying, "Lord, let this cup pass from me" (in other words, "Lord, don't make me do this...")? How can I ask God to bless the homeless when I walk right past them everyday? How can I ask God to forgive someone whom I haven't forgiven yet? How can I ask God for a "financial breakthrough" (as so many of the pimps in the pulpit insist that I should do), without getting a job? How can I ask God to help me get along with people if I deliberately avoid them? How can I pray to God for deliverance for disaster victims without dedicating my time, energy, and money to help the cause? Can I really expect for God to come down to Earth and write a personal check, payable to the State of Louisiana for what happened during Hurricane Katrina?

As my best friend and spiritual partner reminded me (and I quote), "we need to be more proactive in our prayers, instead of sitting back waiting for God to come to the rescue". I couldn't agree more.

What if our hands got as dirty as our knees?

Holla at me!

- ACL

8 "Insiders" spoke their mind. Join in...:

Diane said...

Andre,
I couldn't agree more with this post. God expects us to do what we can as far as the hands-on, physical part, while He handles the Spiritual end of things. Around here, we call the hands-on part a Christian is called to do, "Putting feet on our prayers".
Almost without exception, if God convicts you and brings to your heart a need, He is also calling you to do something about it, besides just praying for that need to be met. We are just lazy or unheeding a lot of times, and don't want to actually get out and DO something about that need. After all, that's what we give our offerings and money for: so the Pastor, deacons, lay ministers, missionaries, etc. can do their JOBS. Then we can sit on our duffs in our comfort zones and not have to dirty our hands with things like witnessing to the lost, ministering to the homeless, drug addicts, drunks, foreigners, and all that stuff.

Bottom line: "To him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin."

I have looked in two of my Bibles and I can't find the book and verse for that quote, but it is in there.

saved_sinner said...

Andre,

You've done it again! Thanks for blessing me with this post. Like you, I've been struggling with my prayer life, wondering why God hasn't delivered. But, you helped me to realize that maybe I'm the one who needs to make it happen...

...with God's help of course!

rhoda said...

This was such a powerful entry. It reminded me that I need to put action behind my words and my prayers. What good would it do if God provided me an opportunity to do something great for Him and I completely neglected on my end?

Andre said...

@ Diane: You've once again blessed me. My endless thanx to you, as always...

You're absolutely right. We rely on God...and other people...to do dirty work that we can do ourselves. I found myself guilty of that not too long ago, when a guy came to our church one night looking for my Pastor. The man was soliciting money for "bus fare". I was prepared to interrupt my pastor's class (thinking "That's what we pay him for"), so that he could meet with this guy. But it dawned on me that I was in just as much of a position to help this guy out. Consequently, I wound up giving him a ride to the nearest bus station, paid his fare, gave him a little more for food, and used our interaction as an opportunity to share Christ with him. Whether I was successful in helping him to truly find Christ is anybody's guess.

I think that we need to be more proactive in our ministry, instead of leaving it all up to someone else to do alone.

By the way, the scripture you're looking for is James 4:17. I'm no Bible scholar, but James is one of my favorite books. It's short, to the point, and effective...

Diane said...

Thanks for the kind words, and for locating that scripture for me, Andre. I thought after I had already published that post, why didn't I just go to Bible Gateway and look it up?

Thanks for the visit to my blog, too, and I hope you are having a blessed day.
Friends, :)

joel said...

Andre,

Thank you for touching my heart with post!

Paul admonished us to pray without ceasing. I truly believe that prayer is not a posture, but a lifestyle. The point that you make about Jesus' prayer in the garden is profound. The last part of His prayer was "nevertheless, it is no what I will, but what Thou wilt." Jesus put aside what he wanted and got his hands dirty.

Good stuff!

Andre said...

Hey Joel. Good to hear from you again. Thanks for your comments.

Great reference point you made about Jesus in the garden. Isn't it also interesting that God does not speak back to Him when He prays out? I think that it was because it wasn't in God's will for the 'cup to pass' through Jesus. It was God's will for Jesus to suffer and die for us.

So many times we ask ourselves "Why hasn't God answered our prayers?" when we should be asking "Did we pray according to His will?"

Thanks for blessing me!

Anonymous said...

I was watching Joyce Meyers the other day when she said that we either act without asking, or ask without acting.

I think that we need to learn to do both at the appointed time.