Pray for a plan, the most recent from my favourite sportswriter….

Posted on Sat, Jan. 14, 2006
Prayer is important; so is a planBy Terry Pluto
Prayer is not a plan.
That was the theme of a sermon given by the Rev. Ronald Fowler at Arlington Church of God on Wednesday.
It has become one of Fowler’s favorite themes. At the age of 70, he so wants to see lives changed. Prayer is important, but how many of us pray for a plan?
“Some people pray for God to give them money and get them out of debt,” Fowler said. “But they don’t want to cut up those credit cards. They don’t want to go on a budget. They don’t even want to hear what God wants them to do to become a better person.”
Too many times, we pray for God to clean up our own messes.
“It’s like we ask God to excuse us for being lazy and greedy, and then we ask God just to fix it,” Fowler said. “We really don’t want to change.”
Bishop Joey Johnson has been dealing with the same theme at Akron’s House of the Lord.
“We throw up all these prayers to God and just expect him to somehow work it all out,” Johnson said. “They want to lose weight, but don’t want to get serious about a diet. Not a lot of people want to be responsible. Not just in the church, but in the country. It’s the syndrome of not wanting to feel any pain.”
Or as the Rev. Bob Combs from Norton Grace Church said, “God is not Santa Claus.”
Part of the problem is some religious leaders have sold faith as an interstate to the easy life. It’s a con job that often leads to heartbreak and spiritual disillusionment.
“It’s the prosperity gospel that you often hear preached on TV,” said Johnson. “It’s a good idea to pray for a new job, if you need one. But guess you better get out and start interviewing. You better prepare.”
Prayer backed by preparation and discipline often becomes a formula for success. Suppose you want to lose weight. You can pray for God to show you the right diet, to lead you to the right doctor, to give you the right attitude and exercise plan.
Then you have to follow through and really believe your prayer has been answered by being given a plan.
“I really believe that we need more practical preaching in church,” Johnson said. “I’ve been reading a lot of Stephen Covey, and he’s right when he writes that common sense is not very common these days.”
We are a society with more wealth and better health care than any in history, yet so many of us are so deep in debt and feeling sick.
Johnson mentioned the Old Testament book of Nehemiah, about a man who prayed for God to put things in motion for him to help rebuild the wall in Jerusalem. Through prayer, he developed a method to make it happen.
Fowler mentioned Luke 14:28, where Jesus said, “Suppose you want to build a tower. Will you not sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?”
It’s a fact that people spend 15 percent to 20 percent less in stores when they pay cash rather than by credit card. That’s because they are counting the money as they stand at the cash register, handing it away and feeling the pain.
At Johnson’s church one Sunday, people came forward to cut up their credit cards as others prayed for them. Some stayed credit-card-free; others just ordered more.
“We have to address these issues in our churches,” said Johnson.
Part of prayer should be for God to give us a realistic view of our situation.
“We’ve got to own our junk,” Combs said. “When we admit we’re part of the problem, then we are more open to following the plan God has for us.”
Combs mentioned the verse from the New Testament book of James: “Faith without works is dead.”
“We should pray as if it all depends on God, then work as if it all depends on us,” said Combs. “I tell people that we need to attach legs to our prayers.”
Messages for Terry Pluto can be left at 330-996-3816 or terrypluto2003@yahoo.com. Sign up for Terry’s free, weekly e-mail newsletter “Direct from Pluto” at www.ohio.com

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5 Comments »

  1. I seem to have received a similar email today. Hope you are feeling better this evening!

  2. J... Said:

    Thanks for sharing, makes alot of real common sense.

  3. Kodiak Said:

    LOng but good

  4. michelle Said:

    good post. we have been studying Nehemiah lately and Vincent and I always said that God gave us common sense to use. Like the post said, “commom sense just is not common.” Let’s pray for people to use more common sense. hee hee that means me too i suppose.

  5. My brother, this is the very heart and soul of modern day Christianity. Most people want God to be Santa Claus but are not willing to do the work that comes with being a Christian. Terry’s writings are dead on today brother. B4T–>


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