Prayer Comes First

by Jeff Bulthuis

Pray first

While reading recently, I came across this quote from Adoniram Judson (A.J.) Gordon, a 19th-century American preacher, writer, and missionary: “We can do more than pray after we have prayed, but we cannot do more than pray until we have prayed.”

This struck me as a powerful reminder of the importance of prayer. Too often our language communicates how we subconsciously relegate prayer to a supporting—rather than primary—role in our lives. Think about these common phrases: “All I can do is pray” or “At least you can pray.” We use them most often when we wish we could do more, whether more as an active, physical volunteer or by providing resources or problem-solving. All of those desires are admirable and good; we just need to be careful that our expressions of those desires do not diminish how important prayer is. Prayer comes first.

Place everything in God’s hands

That’s why I particularly like Gordon’s quote. He doesn’t diminish the importance of doing more but reminds us that prayer comes first. This isn’t because we’re praying instead of acting; instead, it’s because prayer is so important and powerful it should precede and accompany anything we do. Prayer rightfully places everything in God’s hands and at his feet. Then, guided by his partnership, we use available resources, provide aid, and actively seek solutions.

May you be encouraged to continue praying and remain confident in the kingdom value your prayers have in the lives of all who trust you with the concerns of their heart.