What should you expect when you pray?

Isaiah 56-60

Focus: Is. 58:6-7 No, this is the kind of fast I want. I want you to remove the sinful chains, to tear away the ropes of the burdensome yoke, to set free the oppressed, and to break every burdensome yoke. I want you to share your food with the hungry and to provide shelter for homeless, oppressed people. When you see someone naked, clothe him! Don’t turn your back on your own flesh and blood!

This last Sunday was a special day at Watermark Church, Dallas. The first part of our service was a celebration of all the ways God has used our Church body to minister in Dallas, greater Texas, and abroad. The remainder of the service was visiting different stations that were set up in the Town Center (foyer). There were scores of ministries that we partner with represented among the booths, and each representative shared how our Church is strategically involved with them.

After leaving the service, I was reminded of how I must value justice and mercy, especially as it relates to the poor, the weak, and the vulnerable in our society. While Watermark may not be the perfect body, it is good to know that we are on track. Time after time all throughout Scripture, we can see God’s heart for justice and mercy. We can also see His repulsion against religiosity- the act of performing religious lip service without personal transformation.

Isaiah 58 is a great reminder of what our faith should look like as it translates into real life. God is not looking for people who would just pray for justice. God does not need individuals who would only pray for those who are hungry, nor is he so much concerned about us sending up prayers for those who need clothing and shelter. It does not matter how much we pray or fast about such things if our hearts are not moved to the point were we respond.

When I say respond, I am not talking about an exclusive emotional response of compassion.  I am talking about the proactive engagement in laboring against injustice, hunger and poverty. There is nothing to pray about except that God would show you how to use your own resources – time, talent, and treasures (that he has given YOU for such a purpose!). If you should pray, then expect to act on your prayers!

While we are not all called to be the deliver of resources, we are all called to be givers of resources.

If your heart is beating and you are alive to read this, one valuable resource you have is time. How can you give of your time to act in a meaningful way? If you are uniquely gifted, talented or trained, you have talent. How can you use your skill set to be an advocate for another who is in need? Also, check your bank account. Do you have a job that brings in income? Great. You have treasure. How can you use your treasure to partner with those who are on the frontlines in this battle for justice and mercy? What can you do? What will you do?

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