All I Can Do Is Pray

Have you ever said the phrase, “All I can do is pray,”? I’ve said it. And I think it’s one of the stupidest sentences to ever leave my mouth.

Think about it for a minute. When I say, “All I can do is pray,” this is what I’m really saying:

  • All I can do is ask the omnipotent, almighty God, who holds the universe in His hands to work on my behalf.
  • All I can do is ask for grace from the God who gave up His son for me and adopted me into His family.
  • All I can do is stop trying to run the world and ask God to do something.
  • I can run most of my life on my own, but when it comes to this situation, all I can do is pray.
  • I’ve run out of things that I can do, and now I guess I’ll resort to asking God for his help.
  • For a while I had this situation under control, but now I’ve got to ask God to lend a hand.

What a ridiculous statement. It shows my lack of dependence on God, my lack of faith in His power, my lack of trust in Him, and a serious overestimation of my own competence. Prayer is like my spiritual fire extinguisher, only to be used in times of emergency, when things get really bad.

In reality, prayer should be the first thing I do. Rather than trying to wade my way through a tough circumstance, I should immediately confess my dependence on God.

Prayer shouldn’t be my last resort, it should be my first resort. Not because my prayers are particularly mighty, but because God is on my side, and He is particularly mighty.

Have you ever said, “All I can do is pray,”? When have you made that statement? What does that reveal about you and your faith in God?

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16 Comments

  • Tosha says:

    Yes, I've said it… not sure it well ever leave my mouth again. Great post. The Maker of everything is my God, my Father and I'm His daughter. It's such an amazing truth to be reminded of and to share with my on children as they face this world we live in.

  • ELaine says:

    Totally agree. Instead of asking people to help us tangibly, we usually ask, "Could you just pray for me?" Just pray. Like it's the smallest we could do or ask for. I'm glad you brought this up.

  • Teresa Baker says:

    Wow. I'm definitely guilty of that. Thank you for the reminder that we have a direct link to the creator of heaven and earth and that praying should not be a last resort, but the first thing that comes to my mind. I needed this reminder.

  • @markcook_ says:

    yes, yes, yes, and yes. why is it so hard to remember that we are strongest when we are on our knees? thanks for a powerful reminder that we pray to a living, active God

  • Elaine says:

    It's a truth I've heard since the beginning of my Christian walk, but one that I, not only need reminding of often, but one I need to PRACTICE faithfully.

    Thanks for the reminder, Stephen

  • Petra Hefner says:

    Wow! What a dumb thing to say for sure! I've never really thought of it that way. Thanks for the wake-up slap!!! I've really been convicted about prayer myself lately and just finished posting my own thoughts about it. Prayer really needs to be first (and ongoing), not last!

  • Yeah, it seems like if we remember God's power and his love for us, we won't be so quick to say, "All I can do is pray".

  • You're right. In one sense, asking people to pray is a small thing. In another sense, it's an incredible thing.

  • I think I need this reminder over and over.

  • Strongest on our knees. I like that phrase. I often underestimate the power of prayer.

  • I'm guilty of knowing the truth without practicing it. It seems like that is one of our biggest battles as Christians.

  • It is dumb when we stop to think about it. Sometimes I just need to stop and remember who is really on my side.

  • I'll buck the trend here and disagree. But it DOES depend on your emphasis.

    If by "All I can do is pray", you mean "well, I am a powerless creature who cannot do anything here, so I will lift it up to the almighty God", then that's not a dumb thing to say! However, I think we tend to mean "I'll just throw this request up, because goodness knows, nothing else works. Its not like I'm expecting anything". And then, it IS a dumb thing to say.

  • Donna Wenger says:

    Great post, Stephen!
    Great book I'm currently reading on prayer….A Praying Life by Paul E. Miller…given to the prayer teams at Living Hope in Harrisburg, PA. I highly recommend it!
    Donna Wenger (Darryl's helper :-)

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