Prayer and Prudence
Prayer and Prudence
God wants to fill us with His love, joy, and peace. These are gifts freely given by God. Though we are unworthy of these magnificent gifts, He desires each of us to be filled with these gifts. Our weakness is not a deterrent to Him on the contrary it provides an opportunity for God’s power to be glorified. As we go through each day we make a decision to trust Him to provide the strength that we need for each moment. We waste much energy and time wondering whether we are adequate for the task of today. He is more than sufficient to handle whatever the day may bring. God must be the basis for our confidence. We must make a decision to confidently trust Him and allow His strength and presence to control our lives. We are tempted to look eagerly for the minimum that is allowed. We are in fact at times very much like the honest but reluctant taxpayer. 2 Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. Isaiah 30:15 For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” But you were unwilling.
If we take a look at Nehemiah and the Israelites during the time that they were rebuilding the temple after their exile. Nehemiah 4:9 And we prayed to our God and set a guard as a protection against them day and night.
Prayer in fact is our acknowledgment of God’s sovereignty, and of our dependence upon Him to act on our behalf. Prudence is the acknowledgment of our responsibility to use all legitimate means that are at our disposal.
We must not separate prayer and prudence. This is illustrated in the following Scripture where the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh were ready for military service. They were well-trained for combat. 1 Chronicles 5:18–20 …….men who carried shield and sword, and drew the bow, expert in war, 44,760, able to go to war. ……………. 20 And when they prevailed over them, the Hagrites and all who were with them were given into their hands, for they cried out to God in the battle, and he granted their urgent plea because they trusted in him.
The Warriors were able-bodied and well-trained. They were prudent, they were trained to be able to fight when the need arose. They did not trust in their own ability and training. They cried out to God and He answered their prayer because they trusted in Him. God handed the enemy over to them because they prayed. All of our plans, all of our efforts, and all of our prudence are of no avail unless God prospers these means.
Psalm 127:1 Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. In this passage there is the concept of both offensive and defensive efforts, both building for progress and watching against destruction. This verse sums up all of our responsibilities of life. We should always be building and watching. Whether it is in the physical, the mental, or the spiritual, we should always be building and watching taking care of our physical bodies, improving our mental abilities, striving to be more like Jesus Christ our Lord. God builds the house and watches over the city God watches out for your interest. In every respect we are dependent on God to enable us and prosper our efforts. We must depend on God to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.
The children of Israel were wandering in the wilderness. There are times when we can do nothing but pray, and there are times when we must work. Deuteronomy 8:3 And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. God taught the Israelites to depend completely upon Him for their daily provision. A time would come when they would be in: Deuteronomy 8:9 a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper.
Moses warned them not to trust in their own abilities. Deuteronomy 8:17–18 Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ 18 You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day.
God taught the Israelites a very important lesson. Scripture never allows us to use our utter dependence on God as an excuse for laziness. We are dependent upon God at the same time we are responsible to diligently use whatever means are appropriate for the occasion.
What event in your life, were you not prudent or maybe you bordered on laziness?