PRAYER IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR HARD WORK

WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL

JUNE 27, 2024

TOPIC: PRAYER IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR HARD WORK

BY T. O. BANSO

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,  since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.  Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favoritism” (Colossians 3:23-25 New International Version).

God created work; work is not a product of the fall of man. Work is not a curse. Genesis 2:15 says, The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it” (New International Version). This was before the fall.

Indeed, Jesus taught us that men ought always to pray, and not faint (Luke 18:1). However, it is grave ignorance to think that one needs only prayer to make progress in life. The Bible teaches us to pray without ceasing or pray continually (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Therefore, every Christian should pray. However, as important as prayer is, it is not a substitute for hard work.

There’s the labour of prayer you must engage in (Colossians 4:2, 12; Romans 12:12; Acts 1:14, 6:4). Nevertheless, also work hard in your workplace – office, factory, business, school, or whatever is your calling. Don’t be lazy. “Lazy people who refuse to work are only killing themselves” (Proverbs 21:25 Good News Translation).

The ant teaches human beings a lesson on diligence. Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, which, having no captain, overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest. How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep—So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, and your need like an armed man” (Proverbs 6:6-11 New King James Version).

Prayer alone will never make a student pass his exams or excel academically; every student must study hard and pray. Diligence is one of the ingredients for success in life; it’s a constant. Hard work will give you power; being lazy will make you a slave” (Proverbs 12:24 Good News Translation). The New Living Translation says, Work hard and become a leader; be lazy and become a slave.”

Work hard, don’t be lazy. Proverbs 12:27 says, The lazy man does not roast what he took in hunting, but diligence is man’s precious possession” (New King James Version). Diligence must be one of your virtues. You must invest your energy in productive ventures. The Apostle Paul told the Thessalonians, For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10 New King James Version).

Laziness will sentence anyone to poverty. He who has a slack hand becomes poor, but the hand of the diligent makes rich. He who gathers in summer is a wise son; He who sleeps in harvest is a son who causes shame” (Proverbs 10:4-5 New King James Version). In the same vein, Proverbs 13:4 says the soul of a lazy man desires and has nothing; but the soul of the diligent shall be made rich. “In all hard work there is profit, but the talk of the lips leads only to poverty” (Proverbs 14:23 World English Bible). Nobody can truly succeed in life without hard work.

Even if your main calling, as a minister, is prayer, you must work hard at it. No matter the grace of God upon your life, you must add diligence for that grace to make an impact. The Apostle Paul said, But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me” (1 Corinthians 15:10 King James Version). Did you see that Paul still had to labour in addition to the grace of God upon him?

He told the Corinthians: Isn’t it because of my work that you belong to the Lord?” (1 Corinthians 9:1 New Living Translation). Also, Paul told the Galatians, I fear for you. Perhaps all my hard work with you was for nothing” (Galatians 4:11 New Living Translation).

From these scriptures, we see that Paul didn’t only work but worked hard; he was diligent. If not, he wouldn’t have been able to make all the missionary journeys he made even in unfavourable conditions. He wouldn’t have been able to write all the books of the Bible he wrote. It takes hard work to do all this.

Hear what Paul said again about his work-life: Are they servants of Christ? I know I sound like a madman, but I have served him far more! I have worked harder (2 Corinthians 11:23a New Living Translation). Please note the phrase “I have worked harder.” Paul went further to highlight all the suffering he went through (verses 23-28).

Even in adversity, he remained steadfast. In an earlier chapter, he said, We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body” (2 Corinthians 4:8-10 New King James Version). Paul didn’t wait for a favourable condition to do his ministry.  If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done” (Ecclesiastes 11:4 Living Bible).  

Paul fought the good fight, finished the course, and kept the faith (2 Timothy 4:7). He followed in the footsteps of Jesus who said, I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do” (John 17:4 New King James Version). That wouldn’t have been possible without hard work. He laboured in prayer but went beyond that. He diligently went about preaching the gospel. In John 5:17, Jesus said, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working” (New King James Version).

What is your career or profession? Don’t depend on prayer alone; prayer is not enough. Pray and work, and work and pray. Be at your duty post and work hard. No matter how prayerful a business person is, he cannot constantly lock up his shop or office when it is supposed to be open and think the business will prosper. Who will attend to the clients or customers he/she has prayed for?

You shouldn’t be somewhere else always praying when you’re supposed to be in class, the office, or your workplace. An employer will be justified to sack an employee who does that, and that’s not persecution. Don’t rob your employer by collecting the money you didn’t work for. You must earn your wages. Ecclesiastes 3:1 says to everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven. There is a time for every purpose and every work (verse 17b).

Christians should have a reputation for being diligent at work and in all their endeavours. A lazy fellow is a pain to his employers—like smoke in their eyes or vinegar that sets the teeth on edge” (Proverbs 10:26  Living Bible). On the other hand, A faithful employee is as refreshing as a cool day in the hot summertime” (Proverbs 25:13 Living Bible). Christians shouldn’t be seen as only religious but not good staff or citizens. A good Christian should be a good citizen, student, employee, employer, etc.

Paul wrote to the ColossiansWhatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,  since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.  Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favoritism” (Colossians 3:23-25 New International Version).

We must pray hard but we must also work hard. We must pray without ceasing but also work hard at our workplaces. We must labour in prayer but prayer is not enough. We must work hard.

TAKE ACTION!

If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. Take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.

Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner, and I cannot save myself.  I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.

I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You must join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.

PRAYER POINTS: I shall pray continually and work hard in my workplace or calling. I shall not substitute hard work with prayer. Holy Spirit, help me to represent Christ well in my workplace. I shall not be a lazy worker. I shall work hard and cheerfully as if I am working for the Lord, not human beings.

(For over 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).

T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
WhatsApp No: +2349081295947
Email: cedarministryintl@yahoo.com,
cedarministryng@gmail.com
Website: www.cedarministry.org