“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.”
Have you ever watched someone do something that looked so easy you were convinced you could do it? No instruction, no training, no guidance . . . I mean, seriously, if “they” can do it then anyone can, right? I tried that with a skateboard once. 🙂 I was working with youth full-time and while they were skateboarding, one of them asked me to give it a try. I thought, “Why not? If they can do it, it can’t be that difficult.” Whoops! That was a very literal case of pride going before a fall!
While that example may seem humorous, at least to you, it seems many tend to live with that attitude about matters that are much more serious. Because it is often unseen, we tend to discount the work that goes into things that at first glance appear easy. This is especially true when you seek to live a godly life and allow prayer to be the fuel that powers all of your accomplishments. Because effective prayer isn’t done to be “seen by men”, it is easy for people to see what God accomplishes all the while discounting the unseen power of prayer — and therefore, the person praying.
This really shouldn’t come as a great surprise because we see it in the disciples as they observed Jesus. For the most part, Jesus seemed to make miracles look easy — a word here, a glance there, a touch of the hand, a mix of spit and dust — all easy to see and do by anyone, right? Well yes, except what they weren’t recognizing was the real power behind all of it was the connection Jesus had with His Father through prayer! I see this as Jesus comes off the mount of transfiguration and his disciples have been trying to heal a boy by casting out a demon — something they had seen Jesus do with apparent ease prior to this yet it wasn’t working for them. When the man brings his son to Jesus and the boy is healed, the disciples seem to be confused. They ask, “Why couldn’t we do this?” The response of Jesus is straight to the point — and to the heart — “This kind only comes out with prayer and fasting.”
Even when we know and have experienced the power of God working through prayer-based ministry and life, why do we have such a tendency to keep trying to do things in our own strength and power? I think one of the biggest reasons is pride — it is very difficult to take credit for what God accomplishes when we know it has come about through prayer. We want noticed and we want the credit so we make every effort to do things in our own power and strength until our failures bring us to our knees. When satan tempts you to lead out of your own strength and wisdom, realize that the way that seems right to the mind of man is the way that leads to death.
I pray that you would think twice about the work that goes into an effective life and ministry. When you see God accomplishing great things in and through a person, know that there is an incredible unseen prayer-base powering that. I believe that the most effective thing that you can do in accomplishing the will of God in your life and ministry is to build a mighty foundation of prayer by being a person of prayer and by recruiting those who will consistently join you in prayer.