By Gerald Cowan
Someone has said we should pray as if everything depended upon God and work as if everything depended upon us. Prayer may be ineffective if God doesn’t do His part, and it may be futile if the one praying doesn’t do his part.
A little girl prayed: “Dear God, please don’t let the rabbits get in my brother’s traps. Thank you God, ‘cause I know you won’t let rabbits get in the traps.” Her mother heard the prayer and asked, “How do you know God won’t let the rabbits get in the traps?” “Because I smashed all of the traps,” the girl replied.
A man who prayed fervently and frequently for God to burn down a bar and brothel in his neighborhood got tired of waiting and decided he would “lend God the matches.”
That probably is not what is meant by doing your own part to get your prayer answered. James 2:15-16 and 1 John 3:17-19 give us an important key to effective praying: Don’t pray for God to warm, feed, and supply needs of others when you yourself could do it, but make no effort to do it.
- Gerald Cowan, a longtime preacher and missionary, is retired from full-time pulpit preaching. Gerald publishes an e-mail newsletter entitled GERALD COWAN’S PERSONAL PERIODICAL WRITINGS. He is available for Gospel Meetings and he may be contacted at Geraldcowan1931@aol.com