Read Ruth 1:8-9; 3:1-5
Work While You Pray
There is an old saying: “Pray as if everything depends on God, and work as if everything depends on you.” We see this adage at work in the life of Naomi.
In the first chapter of Ruth, after the death of Naomi’s husband and two sons, she told Ruth and Orpah, “Go, return each to her mother’s house. The Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. The Lord grant that you may find rest, each in the house of her husband” (Ruth 1:8-9). Ruth declines and stays with Naomi. Then in the third chapter, Naomi gave Ruth instructions on how to behave in order that she might become Boaz’s wife.
Naomi prayed, and then she worked! She was not content to simply pray and sit back and let whatever happens happen. She wanted to work with God to bring about the answer to her prayer.
Consider the model prayer our Lord taught to His disciples. He said that they should pray for daily bread; did that mean they should not work to obtain bread? Should they just wait for God to feed them? Does He not feed His children through the blessing of employment?
Paul told the saints in Ephesus to pray for him, “that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak” (Ephesians 6:19-20). Paul was going to join his actions to the Ephesians’ prayers.
When we pray for the borders of the Lord’s kingdom to be expanded, for His church to grow, do we sit idly by and just wait for someone to come asking for a Bible study? Or do we actively seek people to teach? The Great Commission is clear: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). Should we pray for evangelistic opportunities? Of course! Yet, we cannot wait for people to come to us; we must go to them!
“Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).