Putting God to Work
By E.M. Bounds
“Putting God to work” is but another way of declaring that God has of His own motion placed Himself under the law of prayer, and has obligated Himself to answer the prayers of men. He has ordained prayer as a means whereby He will do things through men as they pray, which He would not otherwise do. Prayer is a specific divine appointment, an ordinance of heaven, whereby God purposes to carry out His gracious designs on earth.
When we say that prayer puts God to work, it is simply to say that man has it in his power to move God to work in His own way among men, in which He would not work if prayer was not made. Thus, while prayer moves God to work, at the same time God puts prayer to work. As God has ordained prayer, and as prayer has no existence separate from men, but involves men, then logically prayer is the one force which puts God to work in earth’s affairs through men and their prayers.
Prayerlessness Excludes God
If prayer puts God to work on earth, then, by the same token, prayerlessness rules God out of the world’s affairs, and prevents Him from working. And if prayer moves God to work in this world’s affairs, then prayerlessness excludes God from everything concerning men, and leaves man on earth the mere creature of circumstances, at the mercy of blind fate or without help of any kind from God. It leaves man in this world with its tremendous responsibilities and its difficult problems, and with all of its sorrows, burdens and afflictions, without any God at all.
To no other energy is the promise of God committed as to that of prayer. Upon no other force are the purposes of God so dependent as this one of prayer. The Word of God dilates on the results and necessity of prayer. The work of God stays or advances as prayer puts forth its strength. Prophets and apostles have urged the utility, force, and necessity of prayer. “I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence, and give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth” (Isa. 62:6-7, KJV).
In Bible terminology, prayer means calling upon God for things we desire, asking things of God. Thus we read: “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not” (Jer. 33:3). “Call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me” (Ps. 50:15). “Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am” (Isa. 58:9).
Prayer is revealed as a direct application to God for some temporal or spiritual good. It is an appeal to God to intervene in life’s affairs for the good of those for whom we pray. God is recognized as the source and fountain of all good, and prayer implies that all His good is held in His keeping for those who call upon Him in truth.
A Solemn Obligation
God needs prayer, and man needs prayer, too. It is indispensable to God’s work in this world, and is essential in getting God to work in earth’s affairs. So God binds men to pray by the most solemn obligations. God commands men to pray, and so not to pray is plain disobedience to an imperative command of Almighty God. Prayer is such a condition without which the graces, the salvation, and the good of God are not bestowed on men.
Prayer is a high privilege, a royal prerogative. Manifold and eternal are the losses when we fail to exercise it. Prayer is the great, universal force to advance God’s cause; the reverence which hallows God’s name; the ability to do God’s will, and the establishment of God’s Kingdom in the hearts of the children of men. These, and the coincidences and agencies, are created and affected by prayer.
No insistence in the Scriptures is more pressing than prayer. No exhortation is more often reiterated, none is more hearty, none is more solemn and stirring, than to pray. No principle is more strongly and broadly declared than that which urges us to pray. There is no duty to which we are more strongly obliged than the obligation to pray. There is no command more imperative and insistent than that of praying. Art thou praying in everything without ceasing, in the closet, hidden from the eyes of men, and praying always and everywhere? That is the personal, pertinent, and all-important question for every soul.
Prayer is the instrument, God is the efficient and active agent. So prayer in itself does not interfere in earth’s affairs, but prayer in the hands of men moves God to intervene and do things, which He would not do otherwise if prayer was not used as the instrument.
E.M. BOUNDS (1835–1913) was an author of several books, most with a focus on prayer. He was also an attorney and a pastor in the Methodist Episcopal Church South. He was known to rise at 4:00 a.m. and pray until 7:00 a.m. each day.
Taken from Prayer Connect.