(meme stolen from a shared Facebook post)
How many times have you heard of a person in need and you wanted to help but didn’t know how? We often say, “I’ll pray for you.” It’s easy and it can be powerful, but is it always the only answer? Many complain that we need to do something aside from sending ‘thoughts and prayers.’ We’ve all seen the memes. The world is hurting and, yes, we need to do something, but what’s the something and who’s going to do it?
Some are strong believers in the power of prayer. Hezekiah prayed for his people (2 Kings 19:19), Daniel prayed for meaning (Daniel 2:18), eight priests were protected from effects of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima, and “even the CIA recognized the importance of the rosary.” (Miracles of the Rosary that Changed the Course of History, October 2020) So, this writing is in no way discounting the power of prayer!
That said, there is more to Christian life than just faith. Let’s review James 2:
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it? So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” Indeed someone may say, “You have faith and I have works.” Demonstrate your faith to me without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works.
Even Abraham demonstrated his faith with actions when he was willing to sacrifice his son, Isaac (Genesis 2). He was obedient in his faith and so we should be obedient in ours. It does no good to merely send thoughts and prayers if we’re not doing what we can as well. We must do both: pray AND do! Without this, we are like a screen door on a submarine. (Credit to Rich Mullins for the perfect analogy in song!) Truly, sometimes all we can do is pray and, as mentioned before, prayer should not be discounted. However, when we can use works as well, we must!
The opposite can be said about works without faith. I’ve written about this as well. Those who think being a Christian means being a ‘good person’ but they forego their faith are missing the point. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so no one may boast.”
So with neither faith nor works standing alone, we should understand that as Christians we need both and not one alone. So, pray daily and worship the Lord for He is worthy of all our praise and prayer is indeed powerful in faith, but also seek to physically help those in need for we are His hands and feet on this Earth.