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Prayer Is A Means

“Do less and pray more.” That was Paul Miller’s conclusion about his ministry.

He’d been working really hard to find the right staff people to fill key roles in his ministry organization. He was burning himself out because he had twenty eight direct reports. (And if you didn’t know, that’s too many!) He’d been on the phone interviewing all kinds of people. He’d been sifting through resumes. And there was one man in particular that he’d been trying to recruit for years.

But under the weight of all of that, Paul felt the leading of the Holy Spirit to stop doing so much and to pray more. So he stopped calling Bob (that was his name), and instead he just started praying about it. Sure enough, not too long after that, Bob came to him and said that he believed God was leading him to come on board and work for the ministry.

If you’re a person who likes action, it’s easy to fall into the trap of doing things. We think that’s the only way that anything gets done. But actually prayer is just as much a means to an end as doing stuff is. And perhaps even more so.

In fact, prayer is God’s primary appointed means for doing the work of the kingdom. Just think for a minute about the vision statement or the purpose statement of the kingdom. What does Jesus say? “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you.” We can “go” for sure. But I’m not sure we can do the rest.

We can share the gospel with people but we can’t save them. We can teach people about the laws of God, but we can’t make people obey them. I don’t have control of anyone else’s heart.

And so, at the heart of the mission is the paradox that we can’t do the thing we’ve been called to do. That is, unless we do it by prayer.

Prayer is the means to the end of the kingdom of God. It’s the primary work that’s meant to be done by the saints, the church of the living God. And I think if you pray long enough you’ll find that things you were trying to accomplish by doing can much more readily and easily be done through prayer.

Or as Miller would say, “Do less. Pray more.”

Pray with me. Father, your kingdom in your way and in your timing. We pray that you would help us to stop all our busy doing and instead teach us to pray—especially about the important things, the really important things that we know we don’t have the power to actually do. Help us there, Lord. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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