Prayer and Action

One of the books I am currently reading Shane Claiborne and John Perkins’ book, Follow Me to Freedom: Leading and Following as an Ordinary Radical. I have yet to read or listen to anything of Shane’s that I haven’t thought wonderful (not to mention challenging) and this book is no exception.

Among the subjects addressed in the book is one of central importance to all of us on our spiritual journey – the role of prayer. Prayer, in Perkins’ words, is one of the “primary ways in which we connect with the power of God.”

There is a danger, however – the danger that prayer becomes an excuse not to act. We express our sadness at a problem and promise our prayers, and that lets us off the hook to do anything else.

Both Perkins and Shane emphasize our need, as Christians, to be people who pray and act. Shane writes

When we pray for the hungry, let’s remember to feed them. When we pray for the unborn, let’s welcome single mothers and adopt abandoned children. When we give thanks for creation, let’s plant a garden and buy locally grown fruits and veggies. When we remember the poor, let’s reinvest our money in micro-lending programs. When we pray for peace, let’s beat our swords into plowshares and turn military budgets into programs of social uplift. When we pray for an end to crime, let’s visit those in prison. When we pray for lost souls, let’s be gracious to the souls who’ve done us wrong.

You get the idea. We don’t all need to do the same things. But we all need to do something to combine our prayers with being the hands and feet of God in the world.