Talk is Cheap
Posted on January 15, 2020 by Catey Stover in Freedom Fighters
Al Capone once said, “You can get more with a kind word and a gun than with a kind word.” Words seem weak compared to knives, guns, and fists. I guess that is the reason for Believers not taking advantage of their opportunity to pray… it looks weak. Why should I stop and make myself vulnerable by mumbling a few words when I can work hard and cleverly manipulate my circumstances..? I can make myself stronger, smarter, more prosperous, and positioned better than anyone else. And from my lofty heights, I can look down on anyone who desires to take it all away.
That was my mindset when I entered my college football career at 190 lbs; I was determined to prove everyone wrong who didn’t think I could make it. Focused on that task, I worked hard to gain playing time and even started a few games. By the start of my sophomore year, I was 235 lbs and had slashed a few tenths of a second off my 40 time. And then my world spun out of control… a slipped disk and a back surgery. I laid on the floor for several weeks, unable to walk. When I returned to the team, all ‘my gains’ had vanished, and I felt defeated. But God!
God had brought me to my knees to remind me of His plan. Graciously, He didn’t leave me there to struggle on my own; He gave me a most precious gift, an answer to prayer. He brought into my life someone who would fight with me through many more battles yet to come, my wife. Amid ‘my world’ crumbling and what I thought were many unanswered prayers, the light of His Word guided me back to Him. God had shown me I wasn’t alone. I wanted my physical gains again, but He gave me so much more, a new view of His plan and someone to walk with me through the journey.
Fast forward 27 years to another hospital bed where my life was fading due to a heart attack. Again, amid the anguish, God cleared the way for something special, a stronger faith. I would need this for what yet lay ahead in challenges and battles to be fought and won. Little did I know that it all would culminate in understanding one thing; that prayer wins the day!
The real struggles and opposition we face are not physical; they are spiritual. When we realize this truth, we know we can’t resist Satan with a knife, a gun, or a fist, nor can we battle for our hearts with cultural ideals and egocentric desires… Instead of these weak and temporal crutches, we can call on God through prayer.
Paul writes to believers, “Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle, you will still be standing firm.” (Eph 6:10-13 NLT) Paul shows the importance of the shield and helmet, and how we need the belt of truth to bind together our covering. He describes the shoes we need and the weapon we bear, and he ties it all together with the most crucial attribute, prayer, the essential principle, which is the strength of every piece of armor. Paul writes, “Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” (Eph 6:18 NLT)
Believers are called to ‘walk by faith and not by sight.’ And we are told that without a faith that believes God can fulfill His promises and trusts in the work of the Spirit, we cannot please God, nor know His blessings. Many have fallen because they did not listen to Paul’s warning. They struggled to live their own way, instead of winning each day in prayer. I have only God to thank for this understanding… one that is established on turning to Him and away from me.
The question that always arises in such circumstances is, “Why does God allow His children to suffer like this?” The main reason is, “God gives the victory to faith.” While Jesus was away with Peter, John, and James, at the time of His transfiguration, the other disciples were confronted with an epileptic child processed by a demon whom they could not help. After Jesus returned and healed the boy, the disciples asked Him in private, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matt 17:19-20)
When we do not believe, neither shall we be established. If we fall, as the disciples did, into a disbelieving frame of mind, our prayers will not be worth much, our qualifications will be of little value, and any successes we have known will not take away the effect of our present struggle. If we are to trust God and the work of His Spirit in and through us, we must have faith that believes He can fulfill His promises. We must look beyond ourselves, we must look past our status and personal qualifications, we must look beyond our past successes, and seek the living God in prayer day after day.
Words can be cheap when based on cultural trends and egocentric desires, but when our words are founded on God’s promises and cast in the cauldron of faith, they have a power that moves any obstacle. It is on this basis that prayer wins the day. When we let go of control, and humbly seek God, we become strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-11) The battle may be raging around us, but in prayer, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 23:4-6)
When we put on every piece of God’s armor and empower it with prayer, we win the day. Then after the battle, we will still be standing firm in Christ.
Written by David Brown: David Brown is a husband, father, grandfather, Pastor with a Masters of Religious Studies and a Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Religions. Dave is the Associate Pastor of Pemberton’s First Baptist Church.
Think About This: “God can’t give us peace and happiness apart from Himself because there is no such thing.”― C.S. Lewis
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness [a]was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. -Genesis 1:1-2
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the doctrinal and theological views held by America’s Keswick.