Most Christians realize early on that it takes a mixture of both prayer and action to fulfill the Great Commission. Faith without works is dead (James 2:26). Good works alone won’t fulfill God’s purposes any more than they’ll get you into heaven. (They aren’t rooted in the leading of the Holy Spirit.) And isolated prayers won’t accomplish everything, since someone must still put food on the table for the hungry!
It takes a partnership between the two: a “syncing” of Mary’s God-infused stillness with Martha’s active sense of mission. Only when we begin to balance the two do we really start fulfilling the Great Commission. One look at Isaiah 58:6-9 seals this truth. (Hover your cursor over scriptures in every post to read them.)
This week, as I listened again to my friend Jasmine Marino’s story of abuse, abortion, and sex trafficking, I was reminded of the great urgency we have as believers to rescue the hurting and speak up for those who cannot defend themselves. Missions work is not always abroad. In fact, many nations believe it is America that needs the most help!
The Problem Is, There's Too Much to Do!
But where to start? There are so many worthy causes! Some friends and I tackled the issue of sex trafficking this week by hosting a fundraising event for two abolitionist ministries in the Boston area. But what about racial reconciliation? Isn’t that important, too? Terrorism? The lack of discipleship? Addiction? The refugee dilemma? The list goes on.
We reach the place in our Christian lives where we’re finally ready to “get in the game.” We choose to accept the call to step out onto the playing field and throw a pass, with visions of Tom Brady’s grace and precision dancing in our heads. (Sorry, all you non-New Englanders! J ) We’re in it to win it, we think. This is gonna be great!
And then we see them. The enemies. No sooner has the whistle blown than we are surrounded by our enemies: it’s a blitz! Faster than we can comprehend, we’re down. Sacked. We drop the ball. The other team recovers. And it hurts.
It only takes one spiritual “blitz” from the enemy to silence most believers. The fight is too great, we say. Like Nehemiah’s wall-builders, we end up giving voice not to justice, as we planned, but to a three-fold complaint: there’s too much rubbish. Our strength is failing. Wherever we turn, the enemy is attacking us! Justice speaks… but sin silences.
Compassion, Not Distraction
In the presence of our enemies, we Christians are called to compassion, not distraction. We must regain our focus on what our Divine coach is calling us to do, and this is why prayer is such an important first step. Just as faith is listed before works in James 2:26, so prayer is the predecessor to our actions. Why? Because we receive the strategies from our coach – the Holy Spirit - in prayer. Once we have the mind of the Spirit, we have faith, life and peace (Romans 8:6). Then we act. Whatever the analogy, when we look at the blitz, or the storm, or the enemy’s attacks, we have only confusion, paralysis and fear.
God does not expect anyone to respond to every crisis or emergency. It would be impossible. Like the blitzed quarterback, we are already outnumbered. Even Jesus, when He walked the earth, was limited in His ability to respond to the masses, needing time to pull away and be restored Himself. We cannot adequately address every type of problem. God does, however, expect us to respond to some. How do we choose whom to help? We open our hands to that which tugs most at our hearts.
God Responds to Your Heart
During Tuesday night’s event, I had the privilege of leading a short prayer time. But because we ended up with less time than expected, I could not pray as comprehensively as I hoped. You readers know how much I believe in the power of prayer, so I while I came away from the event thrilled at all that happened (we raised over $1000 for two abolitionist ministries and filled 50 bags with donated items for women on the streets), I wished that there had been more time to invest in prayer also!
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A severe hearing loss from childhood caused Deborah Perkins to develop what she now calls her secret weapon: tuning in to God's voice. A Wellesley College graduate and an award-winning writer, Deborah is now a wife and mother of 3 boys. Deborah has devoted over 25 years to professional and lay Christian ministry in New England and beyond. Her passion is inspiring people to cultivate greater intimacy with God.