Sunday, 2 December 2012

Time to Stop Praying and Start Moving!

We are required by God to "pray without ceasing", to be constantly engaging with him in our daily walk. Most days we are no doubt guilty of failing to do this, but in Exodus 14 verse 15 we meet with the other side of things. God says to Moses, "Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward." It was time to stop praying and start moving! No doubt the Red Sea looked scary, but it was the only way to go and heading out towards it was the only acceptable thing to do!

While prayer is indispensable to the progress of the church, and that of individual Christians, there are times - though it sounds strange to say it - when we can let praying impede our progress. We can take refuge in church attendance, in spiritual exercises like prayer and Bible reading, so as to avoid taking the necessary steps forward in God's service, especially when these steps will involve a public profile being given to our faith. Unbelief, reluctance, even pride, can hide themselves in the form of devotion. "I go to church every Sunday, twice a day", may become a mantra by which, through prolonged use, we come to convince ourselves that we need not really cross that "sea", that challenge we know God has set before us; we can stay where we are, do more praying and reading, that's it. So we keep putting off what we know is our duty and privilege to do for the Lord. All too soon we will reach the point at which we convince ourselves that it is now too late to do it anyway!

The Lord showed his glory in the overthrow of the Egyptian army in the Red Sea and in the preservation of Israel as they passed safely through. But, in God's arrangement, this required Israel to move! He could have shown his power and glory against the Egyptians by just uttering a destructive word, but that is not his way. Israel's progress is the means by which he will show his glory, and for that they need to go forward!

Standing still is not an option for us if we are keen to see the Lord get glory in demonstration of his authority and power. Advance is a law of the Christian life. God nowhere advocates a strategic retreat, nor a standing still when we should be moving on and taking our share of the work and afflictions of the gospel. Let's not ever take a step without first praying; but let's not make praying a substitute for stepping out in faith.

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