There is a kind of madness that is so evident in the lives of most religious Africans. We sleep in church almost everyday and pray for miracles to happen. We want to get rich by praying and fasting, not by working. We attend vigils and revivals, hoping to get rich by magic. We don’t want to work. We don’t want to use our brains. We neglect the talent that God has deposited in us to catapult us into greatness. We pray. And fast. And pray. And fast more. We forget that God is not a magician. We want to be rich but we don’t want to solve any problem.
We need to understand that people don’t become rich by praying and fasting. They become rich by providing solutions to problems. They become rich by meeting a need. I don’t understand a lot of things, because I know I am not intelligent. But, I have seen a lot of prayer warriors whose lives are too miserable to be compared to anything. And sometimes I find myself saying to myself: ‘This man can pray and fast very well, why is his life like this? Why is he so miserable?’
I think, once in a while, we need to ask ourselves, ‘what problem am I solving for humanity?’ You can never become rich by looking for money. You can only become rich by creating a solution. Most people spend weeks on mountains, praying for financial breakthrough without knowing what to do to be rich. They just want to be rich anyhow. They fail to understand that wealth comes from solving problems. Wealth comes when we take a critical look at the challenges surrounding us and proffer solutions to them. Most of us have come to believe that some magic wands will suddenly make money for us.
Most of us Africans are lazy. We are always looking for the easy way out. We like to reap where we didn’t sow. We like to take what does not belong to us. That’s why most African countries are backward. And that is why we have too many prosperity preachers who deceive people by selling anointing oil and miracle handkerchiefs. We are lazy. We seem to have forgotten that we need a combination of divinity and humanity to make things happen in the world. It is not only about prayers. We need to work also. We need a combination of prayers and action.
We have allowed the unseen to take over our lives to the point of insanity while the seen is relegated to the background. We have young men who now talk of spending “currency of grace” instead of working. Expectedly, they lead miserable lives. For emphasis, the Bible never said that the builders of the Tower of Babel were Godfearing or religious men; it only said they were united, and that nothing would be impossible unto them. In fact, if we are not very careful about our perception of religion in Africa, our continent will be worse off in thirty years.
As much as Africans need prayers, we also need action. We can’t always rely on prayers only to solve our problems. We must work. We must act. Do you want God to help the lady who lives alone to not feel lonely? Pray that God will help you to make time to visit her or help you to find someone to visit her. Do you want somebody to find a job? Ask them if you can assist them in any way (driving them to an interview, helping with the application). Ask God to help them get the job if it will be a good thing for them. That is how to do things. Pray to God, then do what you are capable of doing.
If you are praying for God to meet your financial needs, pray, but then act! Seek out successful men and women and get their wise counsel. Sit down and put a game plan together to help you meet your financial needs and achieve your financial goals. God can provide for us in many ways, but His most common form of provision is through our hard work. So, if you have financial needs, pray, ask God to provide for you, then put your faith into action and do all you can to see that your financial needs are met. Don’t just sit down and be expecting a miracle without doing anything.
Never forget that it is God who is the One who will heal you, provide for you, restore your marriage or relationship, but God uses our faith in action. Prayer is not a passive exercise but an active one. We are active participants in God answering our prayers. It requires action on our part. It is God who is answering our prayers, but our faith requires us to be involved in that process. Just as James wrote to believers in the Bible that ‘faith without works is dead’, I want to remind Africans that prayer without action is powerless!