Passive prayer22 Feb 2007
Dependence on God in prayer is appropriate because He is all knowing, loving, and powerful. Inaction masquerading as dependence isn’t, because He is all knowing, loving, and powerful. Prayer and bringing stuff before God doesn’t mean forgetting about that stuff/thinking He’ll take it out of your sight. There’s no reason to anticipate that God mightn’t involve you in answering your own prayers — in fact, there’s much more reason to expect that he may.
He’s prepared works in advance for us to do, and Ephesians chapter 2 says that we’re created in Christ Jesus (that is, I think, re-born as Christians accepting Christ as Lord over our lives) for this purpose. Action is an essential part of our being created/becoming Christian.
Elsewhere in the New Testament, we’re told that “it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” [ESV translation, from Philippians chapter 2:13] and, elsewhere [1 Cor 2:16],Â that we have the mind of Christ — so our will and God’s should line up. The letter to the Colossians talks about our seeing that we “have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator”.
So, if the will of God and His people is to line up, it’s ridiculous to think that praying is some kind of personally-empty endevour — it’s not just a matter of putting things on a plate before God, saying “here you are, deal with it”, and walking away without another glance back. No, we’re being changed into the image of God, which means denying (literally meaning, to disown or deny utterly) self and following Christ alone.
If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful– for he cannot deny himself.
[ESV, 2 Timothy chapter 2:11]
Living with him means being prepared — indeed, expecting — to be used by God in answer to some things we come before him to ask. Of course, we’re still ultimately dependent upon God for forgiveness–”If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” In all these things we can only depend upon the love of God in sending his son, Jesus, to take our place… and we should be prepared respond to the enormity of that sacrifice.