No athletes competing in the Olympic games have prayed themselves into a gold medal. They got up early, stayed up late. They swore off sodas and cinnamon rolls. They fell and got up again, fell and got up again. Most of them have sacrificed years of sweat, practice, failure, and sleep to get where they are.

cPrayer is no excuse for laziness.

They may have prayed along the way, but prayer didn’t win them a medal. Hard work did. Using their muscles did. Sharpening their skills did.

Prayer is no excuse for laziness.

This is a universal truth. Prayer doesn’t build a business. Prayer doesn’t pay for tuition. Prayer doesn’t win wars. People working hard, fighting hard, loving hard, laboring hard does. Prayer should accompany all these actions, but prayer alone doesn’t get them done.

In fact, God doesn’t want prayer alone to get them done. He hasn’t just given us bent knees and folded hands.

It’s a mockery of God to sit beside a hungry man and ask God to feed him when there’s a sack full of food in your hand.

Prayer also won’t stop bullets.
Prayer won’t befriend troubled students.
Prayer won’t unbury murdered youth.

We pray, “Thy will be done,” while doing everything in our power to enact God’s will of life and love and hope for all.

We pray, “Give us this day our daily bread,” while getting a job, sharing with those in need, and looking for ways to help others.

We pray, “Deliver us from evil,” while working our asses off to combat evil of every form.

Everybody has a proposal for how to stop school shootings. I'm fine with that. Let's talk. Let's debate. But, whatever your proposal may be, if it only involves praying and doesn’t involve you actually getting up and doing something, then, for the love of God, shut up until you have something to offer.

A good place to start is to work hard at loving those no one else seems to love. I can’t think of a more Christ-like action. While we were yet the enemies of God, Christ died for us. Find an enemy. Or, better yet, find someone who thinks everyone is their enemy. And shock them by loving them. Listening to them. Showing them that there is someone who thinks they’re not a loser. That they matter. That God himself loves them.

And while you’re at it, pray without ceasing. Loving prayer and prayerful love are a match truly made in heaven.

We will never eradicate evil from this world, of course. But we might just prevent a few isolated incidents of the kinds of evil we see happening in our schools and churches.

Together, let us work. Let us pray. And let us stop expecting everyone else—including God—to do the work for us.

My new book, Your God Is Too Glorious: Finding God in the Most Unexpected Places, is now available. You can order copies from Christian Book Distributors, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or your favorite local bookstore.