Blog: I Hate It When People Say, 'All I Can Do is Pray!'

I really hate this expression. Prayer is powerful and should be our first line of attack -- not our last resort!

How many times have you said or heard someone else say "All I can do is pray?" I just HATE this common expression and I'm sure it must be one of the devil's favorites, because it belittles the awesome power of prayer.  When we view our problems, our human nature wants to physically be able to DO something about it with our own two hands.  Without that action, it feels like we aren't doing anything.  We have to release it to God and trust HIM to take action -- so "all I can do is pray!"

In fact, prayer is the most powerful thing we can do to address our problems and it should always be our first line of attack, rather than a last resort.

Over the past several years since my diagnosis, I have been greatly blessed to have so many people praying for me.  Whenever anyone asks what they can do to help, I always ask them to pray for us!  I have friends, family, church family, friends' church prayer chains, and even complete strangers praying for me!  How incredibly blessed I am!  Thank you ALL!  I know there are many folks praying for me that I will never even meet this side of heaven.  I look forward to meeting them one day and thanking them for their prayers!  

I was recently blessed by the prayers of a friend-of-a-friend whom I've never met.  I didn't know it at the time, but this woman had felt led to pray for me specifically.  She would occasionally wake up in the middle of the night and felt God wanted her to be praying for me.

About this time, tests showed that the cancer had spread to my brain.  The doctors explained there were two different treatment options, one more severe than the other, but I would need to have another scan done to determine which treatment I qualified for.  I really needed good results from this scan and it was scheduled for later that week.  However, I got a call and got in several days early on a cancellation.

When I came home from the scan, I had received an e-mail from this woman. She introduced herself and told me how God had led her to pray for me.  She also said that God had told her we would have a "good report," although she didn't know what this meant or that I'd even had the scan.  We got the results a few days later -- they were the good results we'd hoped for and I qualified for the less severe treatment!  Her prayers for me were answered just as God said!

I always remember in Matthew 27:51, where it tells about the moment Jesus died:

"And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split."

Jesus' sacrifice on the cross had torn open the veil that separated us from the Holy of Holies. Now we can boldly come before the very throne of Almighty God with our prayers and requests.  Never forget what a great privilege that is, what a great price Christ paid for our privilege, and how POWERFUL those prayers are:

"The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much." James 5:16

Don't EVER say "All I can do is pray!"

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Arthur Christopher Schaper November 09, 2012 at 12:49 AM
Thank you, Erin! The prayer of a righteous man indeed avails much, as God has torn the vail that separated us by the death of His Son. Let us look on Him who died for us, for He is our righteousness (1 Corinthians 1: 30), and in Him we are made the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Corinthians 5: 21)
Michele November 10, 2012 at 03:38 PM
I am not a religious person, but believe in God. I think if anything, prayer makes us connect again, reflect and meditate on things going on with our lives. We may not be asking for anything major like good health results, but maybe assessing ourselves and how we are living our lives. I think each day we should stop anyway and say thank you to whoever you believe in, or just to mother earth. There is not enough thanks in this world
Nice and Rough November 10, 2012 at 05:47 PM
Pray to God, but row away from the rocks.
MFriedrich December 09, 2012 at 04:33 PM
In my personal experience prayer is nothing more than wishful thinking. Rubbing a lamp is just as effective as prayer. Prayer always has 3 outcomes. Always. YES, NO or WAIT. If the answer is YES or NO, one typically doesn't realize whether or that prayer has already been answered. You may also never know WHEN the YES or NO response takes place. With WAIT, of course, you may never know, and could operate life "believing" that YES is right around the corner. There's also the aspect of interpreting a false positive or false negative with dogmatic prayer. This probability is rarely touched upon by priests, pastors, rabbis and mullahs. So, what's the point? Well, meditation and quiet periods of rest for calm, peaceful reflection have substantial physical and psychological benefits. Dogmatic prayer might intersect this area to some extent. There's certainly no harm in being grateful and thankful for things in life and with sharing or expressing those thoughts with others. But as an effective influencer of life outcomes, prayer is not particularly effective. And when it isn't, you can always rely on the religious to point to the lack of sufficient faith as an excuse....
Charles December 18, 2012 at 04:04 PM
Erin, I realize you've been trained to think that way, but medical science has better explanations for your experiences than do the brainwashed well wishers.


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