Most Christians use the beginning of the year for fasting and prayers. Every church and prayer mountains are always filled to the capacity of people seeking the face of God. Some of the people add the traditional or dry fast to their prayers. In some instances, some people go for a long fast with vigils. All of these are meant to prepare the year for a bumper harvest of good things in life.
As good as these may be, does God answer all prayers? Are there some things prayers cannot do but you should?
Without sounding pessimistic, I will share five top things prayer cannot do, but you must do to avail yourself of the blessings that come with the year. Often, we blame the devil and demons for what we fail to do.
Having prayed and fasted for twenty-one, thirty, forty, or seventy days, what is next? Let us see a few things required for success other than fasting and prayers.
1. Prayers alone cannot save a soul.
One of the things prayer cannot do is to save a soul. There is nowhere in the Bible that prayers alone can save the soul of a sinner. A soul is saved when he repents of his sin. All through the beginning to the growth of the church is the preaching of the word of God as a means of converting souls.
Believers should not only pray and fast, but also preach the gospel. The scriptures say, “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord”. Acts 3:19.
That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation. Romans 10:9-10 It does not say if you pray.
So take a step to be reconciled to God, and then you will have the answer to your prayer. Actually, the Bible says the prayers of sinners are an abomination to God.
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2. Prayer cannot increase your faith.
Faith comes by the hearing of the word of God and not by prayer. Romans 10:17. If I paraphrase that, it could mean faith comes by hearing, listening, watching, and speaking the word of God. Thus, your devotion to the spoken or the written word of God increases your faith. Your level of faith is in the proportion of your devouring of the word of God.
Your faith will develop as you read what God did in the life of his people. You will also appreciate the exploit of great men and women who trusted in the almighty God. By the time you read the contemporary history of ordinary men and women accomplishing outstanding things for God, your faith will come alive. Therefore, faith-building is among things prayer cannot do.
3. Prayer does not replace critical thinking.
Part of what prayers and fasting could not do is thinking for you. I appreciate your prayer prowess, but among the things prayer cannot do is replace your thinking. God would not do what he gave you the power and ability to do.
In the parable of the talent, the master only gave those servants resources to trade with it. Matthew 25:14-30. He didn’t tell them exactly how to invest the money. However, the first two servants thought about what to do and went about doing them.
Though prayer can guide you on what to do even give you specific instruction, it will not be done if you didn’t put those structures in place. You would not even know what to pray about if you didn’t think about any idea. It is not the demons or the devil if your equipment did not serve you well because you fail to service them before your street meeting or revival. It is not your competitors witch-hunting you if you are not following the right business procedures.
God could give you a bright idea and dream, but your critical thinking will help you achieve that feat. Having prayed at the beginning of the year, you have to plan your life for the year if the prayers will work. By wisdom, you make your war, not by prayers. Even the divine victories God gave his people in the Bible included certain strategies that involve men. As you pray, think through.
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4. Prayers without diligence will be counterproductive.
Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings;
He will not stand before unknown men. Proverbs 22:29. Prayer and fasting cannot replace diligence. Do you know that as a student your chances of excelling through strategic studying are higher without prayer than somebody who focuses on prayer and fasting alone? Without sounding carnal, you could pass your exam if you study and prepare well, but your chances are narrower if you focus on the vigil, visiting the mountains, and prayers without studying your books.
You know some people made it in life without having any affinity with any deity.
Your diligence may include upgrading your knowledge in your choosing career. As much as I celebrate life of prayers if you are lazy, prayer will not work for you. You can imagine the result of someone who arrives at his place of work or business promptly and stayed until the closing hour with another person that comes at will, close early, and often do not stay through the hours. The result of the duo will not be determined by how much they can pray, but by their diligence. Praying without endurance, doggedness, and focus will not take you far.
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5. Good relationships and prayer give sound success. 2 King 4:1-7.
Many Christians in this part of the world attribute many challenges to the work of demons. However, in the real sense, our failure to do the needful is the reason for those problems. A bad attitude and poor relationship will block answers to your prayer. You are not likely to retain your customers or clients if you do not have a good relationship with them.
In a competitive world, prayer will do next to nothing if you are not friendly. Your manner of approach to customers does better than prayer. Ordinarily, it takes more effort to maintain success than being successful. While the combination of prayer and hard work gives you success, a good relationship will sustain more success than you can imagine. Successful people in any field of life understood the importance of goodwill. They build their brands over time with a good reputation. Focus on this in the New Year because it is one of the things prayer cannot do for you.
While prayer and fasting are good, the above facts are a few things fasting and prayers cannot do. However, my points are not meant to water down the potency of prayer and fasting. In that, vein the combination of fasting and prayers with a combination of what is humanly possible will give you your desired result. Once you do your part, believe the sky is not your limit.
Do not forget you can’t even pray a meaningful prayer without vision or focus. So get your acts together after the fasting and prayers of the beginning of the month.
As you work on the points I listed, share them with your friends. Because it is not an exhaustive list, you can add what I missed in the comment. Connect with me on Facebook as the journey of life become easier if we walk together.