My grandfather was a pastor and he was also quite a joke teller. He had tons. He also had a few one liners to remind you that having an active faith requires action. He tell about a man that prayed every day, ‘Lord let me win the lottery.’ And after years of praying he asked, Lord, ‘why won’t you let me with the lottery?’ And God said, ‘you’ve never bought a ticket.’
This, obviously, is not to say that if you pray for millions of dollars you’ll win it, but it’s a reminder that you can’t just sit around saying “God please” and never doing anything to act upon His will and calling. “God, please help me become a writer,” won’t get you anywhere if you don’t sit down and put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard as the case may be). “God please make me a successful attorney,” won’t be a believable prayer if you never go to law school or take the bar exam. “God, if you’d just help me be the best mom in the world,” can not be answered if you are never there for your kids or willing to sacrifice, pray, and commit.
I know this can be a touchy issue. Sometimes we as humans actually get in God’s way. I’m not suggesting that. But just saying, “let God work,” without any initiative on your end isn’t going to be be a formula for greatness. I just wrapped a study on James and he says faith without works is dead. This doesn’t contract the grace doled out all through the New Testament, but it does mean that paying lip service to your faith isn’t enough. Actions ARE required.
James 2 – What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.