When I first saw the title of this book, Wasted Prayer: Know When God Wants You to Stop Praying and Start Doing by Greg Darley I immediately got a little uncomfortable. Can prayer really be wasted? Isn’t prayer vital to our lives as Christians? Isn’t prayer one of the most important aspects of keeping our relationship with God active and strong? But yet, I immediately caught a glimpse of times when prayer might in fact be wasted. How often do we pray about things when really, God is calling us to do something!
One of my biggest pet peeves (and I’m fully guilty of this myself) is when someone talks about a problem they are facing and everyone chimes in with, “I’m sorry to hear that. I’ll keep you in my prayers”. First of all, do you really keep that person in your prayers? I’m sure some people do, but I know I often get busy with life and forget all about it, or I’ll throw up a quick prayer and move on. But what if, the next time you see a post on Facebook from a single mom admitting that she is exhausted and stressed and praying for a break, you don’t comment that you’ll “keep her in your prayers”, but you send her a message and say “Hey, I’m taking my kids to the park on Thursday night, I’ll pick up your kid(s) on the way so you can have a few hours to rest or get a few things knocked off your to do list.” You see, God can do amazing things, He performs miracles every single day, but sometimes He uses us to bring about those miracles. We are literally called to be God’s hands and feet, not just His prayer warriors.
That is the premise of this book. It’s not a call to stop praying. It’s a call to action. Greg isn’t advocating that we prioritize works and push prayer to the back of the closet. He’s giving an alternative to the “religious cycle” of prayer that so many of us have fallen into. We pray in reaction to things, we pray to ask God for something, we pray for wisdom in a certain circumstance, we pray for God to intervene in our lives, and we pray to thank Him for the things He has given to us. But if you think about this, it’s a pretty shallow relationship. We ask God for all kinds of stuff and thank Him for all kinds of stuff, but we never actual do anything, except pray when we need some favors.
God has called us into a deep, intimate relationship with Him. We get this relationship through proactive prayers. By praying and talking to God regularly, about everything, not just when we need something. By spending time reading God’s word and dwelling in His presence more often. It is through this kind of prayer and relationship that our trust in Him grows. Through this kind of intimate prayer our knowledge of Him and His will expands. And this trust and knowledge will then lead us into the wisdom that we need when faced with a difficult circumstance, it will lead us into confidence and peace knowing that God will provide for our every need, and it leads us to praise Him no matter the circumstance. That is discipleship prayer. It’s time spent dwelling with God, not pleading with God.
It took me a while to read through this book, even though it’s not very long. I kept pausing to wrestle with some of the questions that the book content was bringing up. The first part of the book talks about the problems with the way that we pray when stuck in the religious cycle and is a call to simply, jump when we hear God’s call. I kept wondering, well how, then should we pray, and what if we aren’t hearing anything from God? I sat down with the book the other night and made myself sit and finish it and was quickly sucked in when I realized that part two of the book set out to answer all of these uncomfortable questions I had.
I loved that Greg included both Biblical and present day personal examples throughout the book to illustrate his points. Sometimes I felt like he was “reading between the lines” a bit with some of the Biblical stories to make his point stronger, but it did open my eyes to some of the Biblical stories in a fresh way. I think we so often read these stories over and over without taking the time to critically think about them and how they can be applied to our lives. Greg did a great job of pulling apart the stories and applying them to the concepts in the book.
This book will challenge you to not only take your prayer life from reaction to relationship, but will also guide into finding the wisdom and strength to say “Yes” to God’s call on a regular basis. He has called you. He has equipped you. He is just waiting for you to stop wasting your time praying about it and just start doing it. “God values obedience over religious acts, including prayer” (pg. 7).
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Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher through the BookLookBloggers program in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.