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Pray As Though Everything Depended On God. Work As Though Everything Depended On You.

Praying hands
A famous quote often attributed to St. Ignatius and St. Augustine.

I like the title of this article, and let me tell you why. Humans tend toward extremes. I certainly am no exception. There were times where I barely prayed at all, and other times where I prayed constantly but did not take action in situations. In general, people who don’t believe in God fall into the former camp of prayerlessness, and many people who do pray fall into the latter camp of inaction. Examples of the latter are waiting for God to manifest healing without changing the lifestyle that made us sick; asking God to send a life partner without going out to meet people; praying for a job or scholarship without putting in applications; and seeking freedom from pornography while sleeping next to our phones and shunning accountability.

Faith Without Works Is Dead

The truth is that God commonly uses natural processes to bring about a supernatural answer to prayer. This phenomenon has a name, depending on the situation, such as providence, discernment, or direction.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

PRoverbs 3:5-6

The model of prayer and action working hand-in-hand is a model that runs throughout the Bible. The ancient Hebrews believed God was with them, but that didn’t mean they didn’t have to go out and fight their battles. In the story of Elijah and the famine, the prophet had the poor widow bring him all her empty jars so God could fill them with oil (2 Kings 4). Sometimes the blessings come to people right where they are, but oftentimes the invisible hand of God works through actions and interactions with people.

For the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light

Luke 16:8

Today, let’s remember our need for God and our limitations as people. Let’s also not let faith or prayer be an excuse for inaction, which often amounts to a lack of wisdom, in managing our affairs.

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An intellectually curious millennial passionate about seeing people make healthy, informed choices about the moral direction of their lives. When I’m not reading or writing, I enjoy hiking, web-making, learning foreign languages, and watching live sports. Alumnus of Georgetown University (B.S.) and The Ohio State University (M.A.).

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