Prayer no replacement for hard work

EMELDA Musonda.

THERE is a worrying trend in the church today especially in the Pentecostal churches where young people believe that all they need for them to prosper is prayer.

As far as they are concerned, if they pray consistently, God will send angels to deliver money on their door-steps or indeed other material things they may desire without engaging in any form of work.
This is a misguided notion which has relegated many to poverty.
Today there are so many Christians moving from one prayer meeting to another in search of prosperity. Wherever they hear a conference, crusade or any other church meeting, their presence is assured regardless of day and time.
They bombard heaven with prayer requests for financial breakthrough from Sunday to Sunday and yet there is no sign that God has received their petitions.
Despite devoting themselves to prayer and giving sacrificially, God’s blessings seem to elude them.
This unfortunately gives a wrong impression that being a devoted Christian is a licence to self-inflicted poverty which is far from the truth.
The truth is that besides prayer there are other principles that God Himself put in place to govern success and prosperity.
Hard work is one of the basic principles God expects man to follow as a basis for prosperity.
However, today there is a tendency by some Christians to incline to prayer and to some extent giving, while neglecting hard work.
Many people today want instant miracles. They are lazy to read the Bible for themselves and do not want to pay the price of success which is hard work. This is what is driving many into the hands of wolves in the name of false prophets.
While God in His divine and omnipotent nature is able to drop bags of money on people’s door-steps if He so wished, He has chosen not to by allowing man to work for him to eat.
God takes this matter seriously that is why the Bible in 2 Thessalonians 3:10 says in part, “….If anyone doesn’t want to work, they shouldn’t eat.”
Deuteronomy 28:12 also says, “The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none”.
This scripture is confirmation that God expects Christians to work if they are to prosper. This is why instead of promising to send money, He says He will send rain in season.
If God sends rain in season He expects Christians and non- Christians alike to till the land or indeed work as a basis for prosperity.
It is only through hard work that Christians will be financially empowered to lend to nations.
Without hard work some Christians will continue being slaves to poverty and to those who have the financial means.
Now that we are in the farming season, I do not think God expects any farmer to lock themselves in the house the whole day for prayer or trek from one church meeting to another while neglecting the field. When harvest time comes such a farmer will certainly reap what he or she sowed.
The above scripture says “God will bless the works of your hands…” This clearly demonstrates that God will only bless those whose hands are busy.
If one is looking for a job they cannot afford to just bury themselves in prayer but must find time to go out job hunting.
Students, especially those in examinations classes, cannot neglect the duty to attend classes and study and cry to God to deliver a distinction to them. Students are expected to invest countless hours in learning and studying if they are to excel in studies.
One thing I know and many will attest to is that an examination is no respecter of anyone who is ill-prepared whether Christian or not.
An employee cannot afford to use his employer’s time trekking from one church meeting to another at the expense of productivity and expect a promotion or to be spared from retrenchment if such was to be a consideration. Actually the chances are that such will be first on the list.
Similarly, those running own business need to invest more time in marketing their merchandise and services. It is folly for anyone to keep their shops for most days and expect a business boom because they have been attending one meeting after another. There is a place for prayer and also for work.
Those in the music industry need to invest countless hours in the studios to perfect their gifts and come up with sellable products.
Successful sportsmen will also tell you how much time and effort they invest in training sessions for them to mint those medals.
One man of God once said, “Our prayers to God are not a menu from which we can simply order blessings and breakthroughs. God has to see you put some sweat in it, and it will be at that point He will step in and perform the miracle”.
Pastors should help their members by desisting from preaching lop-sided messages which emphasise one thing and down-play the other.
In this case young people need to know that prayer is not a replacement for hard work. After one has offered their petitions and sacrifices, there is a place for hard work.
The author is Zambia Daily Mail editorials editor.

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