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By Spencer Keroff

I look at a star-filled night or the miracle of birth or the beauty of a sunset, and I am convinced of God’s existence. His fingerprints are everywhere. Creation is an amazing advertisement of God’s existence. Psalm 19:1-2 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.”

Nevertheless, the world is filled with atheists who deny the existence of God. In this worldview, human beings are offered no purpose, no meaning, no accountability, and no future. Hope is reserved for this life alone, and the grave is the ultimate stamp of man’s mortality.

The Bible declares, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 14:1). From a biblical perspective it would be fair to say that atheism is foolishness. However, even more astonishing than worldly atheists are Christian atheists. I know that’s an oxymoron; at least it should be. However, theologian Gordon Fee astutely remarked, “Prayerlessness is an act of practical atheism.”

To proclaim belief and yet not act on that faith is more foolish than not believing at all. We know the promises and directives of the Scriptures. God has implored us to pray without ceasing. Furthermore, He pleads with us to come before His throne with boldness, fervency, and perseverance. “Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up” (Luke 18:1). James reminds us that “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops” (James 5:16-18).

Yet the sad fact remains that far too few Christians actually take the time to experience prayer, really a two-way conversation with God. In fact, the Bible declares, “You do not have because you do not ask God” (James 4:2).
We sing about prayer, preach about prayer, talk about prayer, and think about prayer, but are we actually praying? If not, then what difference exists between our non-praying atheist friends and the non-praying church? Our Christian atheism is an affront to a holy God who has invited us into His presence in order to have a relationship with us and to eternally affect our world for His glory.

J. Hudson Taylor, missionary to China, once said, “…prayer… has never been tried to its full capacity. If we want to see mighty wonders of divine power and grace wrought in the place of weakness, failure and disappointment, let us answer God’s standing challenge, ‘Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not!’”

Over the Christmas holidays, I went sledding with my kids and one of my nieces. On one descent on the hill, the kids collided with another little boy on the slope. Thankfully everyone was all right, but in the confusion of the crash, my son, Josiah, lost one of the lenses in his glasses. We made our way back up the hill to look for the lost lens but to no avail. We searched the exact spot of the collision yet still couldn’t find it. Finally, I paused to pray. God knew exactly where that missing lens was, so I simply asked for wisdom. After praying, I felt impressed to do something that seemed utterly ridiculous. I checked my son’s coat pockets for the lens. Somehow, in the midst of the kids sledding at top speed, taking out an unnamed boy, and continuing their journey down the rest of the slope, Josiah’s lens landed in his pocket. Only God could have directed me to look in such a strange place for my son’s lens. That is the power of prayer!

Prayer opens doors, advances God’s kingdom, defeats devils, and releases God’s power. Remember that God moves mountains, but it is prayer that moves God. “Christian atheism” is foolishness at its finest. May God deliver us from impotent Christianity and ineffective faith!

Don’t be a fool…PRAY!

About The Author

Spencer Keroff
Senior Pastor

Pastor Spencer, the lead pastor of First Church of the Open Bible in Des Moines, Iowa, is passionate about the life-transforming gospel of Jesus Christ. He holds a B. A. from North Central University in Minneapolis and an M. Div. at the University of Northwestern in St. Paul. The Keroffs homeschool their four children and strongly emphasize home discipleship in their marriage and ministry.