During the successful launch of SpaceX’s spacecraft into space on May 30th, 2020 and its return to Earth after two months of a fulfilled mission, SpaceX CEO, Elon Musk who is a well-pronounced atheist while welcoming back the astronauts reportedly said “I think, like, my entire adrenaline just dumped, you know? Like, thank God,” he continued “I’m not very religious, but I prayed for this one.”
It always comes to that point where the high and mighty, regardless of their persuasion bow their head in prayers. Even people who do not believe in God face certain situations that subject them to pray. The reason is that while prayers alone don’t get certain things done, it boosts confidence, revives hope and birth ideas”. There are times we have come to the limit of our strengths and therefore rely on prayers to go a bit further.
Elon isn’t such a wonderful person to be used as an example when addressing believers on the subject of faith but I’d crave your indulgence to say a thing about him that was inspiring. He didn’t just pray, he didn’t just have hopes, he put his hands to work and strengthened himself with prayer when it seemed his enthusiasm was fading. If such would be the case of someone who wasn’t sure of who was listening to his prayers, how much more those of us who believe in God and have had a personal encounter of him?
A lot of times, we come across opinions that seem to make light of prayers. In fact, I have also given opinions that people misinterpreted to be making light of prayers, some people may feel the same about this article too. The problem is usually that religion makes it seem as though prayer is the solution for everything while neglecting the place of work. Yes, we pray in everything but we also put our hands to work to get things done.
For example, you can’t build a house with prayer, you can’t go to the mall and pray down groceries into your kitchen store, you can’t walk into an office and pray them into giving you a job. While it is okay to pray for a job, you may never get a job when you do not make moves to apply for one. It is like looking at a water dispenser and praying that it pours water into a cup all on its own. Yet, you can pray and charge yourself to boldness even before that interview. You can pray and stir the aura of favour even where others don’t seem favoured. Certain things happen in exceptions and with prayers, you can be among the exceptions.
Do we really need prayers to be successful or do we just focus on being skilful and getting better at what we do? Would the skills be enough?
The Bible says in Philippians 4:6
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.”
Somewhere else the Bible says in Proverbs 22:29
“Do you see any truly competent workers? They will serve kings rather than working for ordinary people.”
From the two verses we just read, you can see that there is the place of prayer and there is the place of competence in duty. There is a striking balance between the two verses, it is like two different sides of same coin. When it calls for prayers, pray. When it calls for work, work. There are those times you need ideas, assurance or a sense of peace.
As a believer who has been united with God, you have every right to pray, thank God and tell him what you need. Sometimes, we pray not because we are looking for solutions or because we expect an instant miracle but because there is this peace that clouds our hearts and mind whenever we pray. Instead of being worried about a circumstance, we rather pray! We don’t worry, instead, we pray!
If you are preparing for a job interview, you can pray while getting yourself prepared and familiar with questions you’d likely be asked. If you have a brand idea, you have every right to pray even while taking the required steps. Prayer supplies you with inner strength, motivation and assurance but prayer alone in itself is not enough. There are things your hands were designed to do, you can’t get them done with prayers. Paul wrote to his audience in 2 Thessalonians 3:10 saying
“Even while we were with you, we gave you this command: “Those unwilling to work will not get to eat.”
Paul didn’t ask that they pray down food, he rather encouraged them to put their hands to work and become productive if they truly want to eat.
As believers, what we do when we pray is that we get God involved in our affairs, we acknowledge his Lordship. Whether it is marriage, academics, business and so on; while we must do what is required of us to do, we access a special advantage in the place of prayer.
Now you may say, “but the world richest men and non-Christians didn’t obviously pray their way into success”. That is true on a level but it is also important to know that there are also people who do not pray who are still poor while there are also those who pray and are very successful.
Prayer in itself isn’t a way of becoming materially successful. Like I wrote earlier, we do not replace the place of diligence with prayers, we rather add prayers to our diligence. We will always fail if we pray enough but lack competence and are unwilling to work with our hands.
You just don’t have to start comparing yourself with those who do not pray. Your target shouldn’t be to become the richest man in the world, your target should be to become successful in what you do and you may need prayers to stay at peace and consistent even in trying times.
While it is true that the world’s richest men didn’t build their brands with prayers, every life is peculiar. You are not the other person who doesn’t pray but make wealth, you may never have the opportunities they had and you may lack access to what they have access to. Your fight is different from their fight but you have an advantage since you find reasons to pray where they find reasons to worry.
When you understand that your fight is different, you’ll understand that what worked for them may not work for you. Their stories are not your stories, their backgrounds are not your backgrounds. You may do what they did and still never get the results they got. Certain times, we gain clarity and direction in the place of prayers. You can never be wrong praying but it is useless when there is no corresponding action that backs your faith.
Since you do not have some of the advantages some rich folks had, you should rely on what you have and if you are a believer, God is one of the persons you have. Ask for ideas, ask for direction, ask for provisions and depend on him. More than these things, make your needs known to him.
However, we must note that prayer isn’t merely about wooing God into coming to our aid or supplying us with wealth else, prayer wouldn’t be relevant for the rich. Prayer is not what poor people do, prayer is another way we acknowledge our fellowship with God and make ourselves bare before him.
In all things, regardless of every circumstance, we pray!
And as we pray we take corresponding actions!