In continuing reading this book on Hudson Taylor, I came across a quote from one of his sons that certainly seems to accurately sum up what I have gathered about him from reading. I feel it is a very good perspective, and very much worth pondering. This is Howard Taylor writing about his father Hudson:
“He prayed about things as if everything depended upon the praying … but he worked also, as if everything depended on the working.”
By “working”, he isn’t talking about a nine-to-five job. He’s talking about the act of doing. Hudson wasn’t one to just sit and pray while he did nothing. Prayer was essential for him, yet he was always a man of action.
Something that I have heard and witnessed many times (even in myself) are people who say they are praying for certain things, say, for a job. Yet, they are not actually doing anything to try and find a job. The perspective there is that if you are praying for it, you don’t really need to put any effort into it because God will just set it in your lap.
What I see in the quote is the need for both. Prayer is vitally important, yet we must still continue on and pursue and work. Sure, there are certain kinds of things we must wait on God for, but there are many things and situations where sitting and waiting is not what we should be doing. In that case, “praying about it” becomes an excuse for laziness or complacency.
This is a good reminder to me to think very carefully about the balance between finding an answer to prayer and action.