Is It Time To Stop Praying? Maybe


The Gambler by Sario Reale

Today I’m going to use an illustration of something I don’t agree with to encourage you to do something similar. Got that?

I was maybe 17, when my friend Clyde and I went to a fair. There was a booth where you could throw baseballs and win junk if you knocked over enough bottles. The fellow who worked there even showed us how to do it.

It was dead easy.

So easy in fact that I lost almost all my skimpy stash of money and Clyde lost even more. I was sick and Clyde was mad. And the guy with the easy-to-knock-over-bottles was probably grinning as he pocketed the money of another sucker. Supposedly there is one born every minute and that night the lucky promoter found two.

Have you wondered why people toss away cash trying to get rich gambling? Simple stupidity? Maybe. There’s got to be a strong element of that. When you figure the odds of winning you’d have to have had a frontal lobotomy of the brain before you’d gamble.
But, there is more to it than that. There’s risk, adventure, and greed mixed in with that stupidity and that’s what people are buying. Thrills and even hope motivate them. (“I’m going to win the $100 million dollar lottery,” is what 200,000 million people tell themselves).

Faith Is …

Gambling is a twisted version of faith.

God inspires us towards the impossible. If we’re just doing our best we haven’t even begun to have faith. Faith begins where our best efforts leave off. I think that even the most boring bean-counter, hidden in the recesses of a giant factory, dreams of great things: risk, hope, adventure.

But, to live the dream we have to push away from the safe shores of security. We can pray for revival until the cows come home but God has also called us to go out and obey Him. If you’re leaping out without praying, your chances of splatting on the sidewalk below are over fifty percent.

But, if you’re praying without going, you may simply be participating in a religious expression which masks cowardice, laziness, or self-centeredness.

Moses stepped out on faith and stepped into a smelly problem. A large body of water blocked his way and an army of howling Egyptians followed close behind, preparing to give him a haircut—right across his throat.

So he prayed like crazy.

God says ‘stop’

And God stopped him! “God said to Moses: “Why cry out to me? Speak to the Israelites. Order them to get moving. Hold your staff high and stretch your hand out over the sea: Split the sea! The Israelites will walk through the sea on dry ground.” (Ex. 14:15, The Message)

There is a time to pray like an erupting volcano. And there is a time to get up from your knees and do what God told you to do. “Split the sea? Come on, Lord.” But Moses’ obedience had put him into a place of faith. His life depended on his faith.

And he won his “bet.”

That’s how you become a “sanctified gambler.” You need to have some “skin in the game,” something to lose if things don’t work out.

And God speaks to many people who are already serving Him. “Get up and do this new ministry or go to this new place,” and they respond like a car with the emergency brake frozen in place.

“Lord, I’m serving You. Leave me alone. It’s good here. I’ve exercised plenty of faith to get where I am. Let someone younger do it. I’m happy here, just serving You.”

All Gamble Gone
No gamble left in that fellow. He’s got a reserved parking place where he is and he doesn’t want to go through the faith thing again.

That fellow may have been buried when he was 79 but he died at age 39, or whatever age he stopped being a “gambler” for the Lord.
Lots of folks are praying but are they adding active faith to their prayers? Are you?

I heard a story about a small church once. The pastor of this sleepy congregation was excited about doing something for the Lord. So one Sunday morning in his message he cried out, “When this church gets on its knees and starts praying, it’s going to be raised from the dead!”

From the back seat an old deacon cried, “Let it stand up, pastor! Let it stand up!”

Well, the pastor was all inspired by that so he added, “And when this church gets up from it’s knees and starts to tell other people about Jesus, it’s gonna walk! It’s gonna walk, brothers and sisters.”

The back-seat deacon, excited now, cries out, “Let it walk, brother, let it walk!”

The pastor is on a roll so he says enthusiastically, “And when this church gets full of faith and starts giving for the support of the church and missions all around the world, why it’s gonna run. It’s gonna sprint!”

From the back seat the deacon mutters, “Let it walk, pastor. Let it walk.”

No investment from him, huh?

What do you have invested in your prayer? Can you do anything about what you’re praying for? There is a time to pray and a time to become one of God’s gamblers. Get up and go!

Hmmm …
To Mr. husband: if you acted then like you act now, would you have gotten the girl?
M’aam: If he knew you then like he knows you now would he have run to you or from you?

A very alert reader showed me how to see our French website Victoire in English and take advantage of some of the articles. The traduction is readable. You go to Google translation. Type in in the French side and push the translate button on the English side. It will let you know what the magazine is like.   Google translate

Image: Flickr, creative commons, Sario Reale the gambler

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