Passion without prayer leads to prostitution.” – Pat Layton, President, A Woman’s Place Ministries, Inc.
Most of us won’t need to Google “prostitution” to know what the word means. But, if you look it up at dictionary.com you’ll find a second definition: “base or unworthy use, as of talent or ability.”
Have you ever considered you can prostitute your talents or abilities? If we dive into our passions without pausing to talk to God first, we will undoubtedly corrupt our gifts and offer them to unworthy purposes. We set our sights on what we want to accomplish instead of who we’re called to serve.
God warns us of this tendency to turn inward in when He says:
Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the LORD.” Jeremiah 17:5 (ESV)
A year ago, during Luke’s tenth NFL training camp, he spent about four weeks away from home and the grass grew. We have a little push mower which I, up until now, had taken no interest in learning how to use. But it rained a couple of inches and the grass needed to be cut. I asked Luke how to start the mower to which he replied, “You will not mow the yard. I’ll do it when I get home.”
To be fair, I acknowledge, yes I was eight months pregnant, and yes we had five children who I was solely responsible for during camp, but it’s a small yard! So, I figured, how hard can it be? I enlisted our oldest son, Jonah, to help me. I yanked the chord to try to get the mower to turn over. I told Jonah to push the mower one direction while I tugged the chord in the other. We failed, and I sported a bruised finger for about a week. Luke noticed the lawnmower sitting in the middle of the backyard one day and put two and two together. He mentioned a clutch I had neglected to squeeze during all the chord pulling. Aha! I’ll get it the next time, I thought.
The next week I went out for round two. Again, the mower won. By this point I was boiling. I hate to lose. Again, Luke noticed the mower in the yard and finally revealed the trick to making the engine purr. There’s a button to push way down by the engine, and you have to push it three times.
“Do you know how much trouble you could have saved me if you would have just told me that in the first place?” I barked.
“Do you know how much trouble you could have saved yourself if you would have just waited and let me do it like I said,” he calmly replied.
Isn’t that how it goes with us and God? We have great ideas and a heart ready to make things happen, so off we go to get it done. We heave and hoe and exhaust ourselves all in the name of working for the Lord, when our Lord waits for us to let Him do something!
Even Jesus himself sought God before He began His earthly ministry. He spent forty days – more than a month – alone in the wilderness fasting and communing with His Father. He surrendered to God’s call into the wilderness, suffered as he faced hunger and temptation from Satan, and succeeded against the devil’s best shot. Then Jesus embraced His call to save the world.
So, what’s the opposite of passion without prayer? Passion plus prayer!
Passion plus prayer leads to power through His Spirit.
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen.” Romans 11:36 (ESV)
I believe you and I possess God-given gifts and passions. Let’s soak them in prayer so we use them for His glory not our own.
List your passions. Name people groups and physical talents that paint a smile on your face. Then make a plan – a plan to pray. Ask God how He wants to use you to be a light in the darkness.
Oh, and to set the record straight, I did finally mow the yard … but just the backyard. I let Luke take care of the front.