How Prayer is Like Productivity
There’s a lot of talk around a new version of OmniFocus that is coming out soon. If you’re not familiar, OmniFocus is a productivity app that is quite popular with enthusiasts of David Allen’s Getting Things Done methodology. Because of its following online, OF will likely get a hero’s welcome when it finally is released.
People will download it. About a week later, many of those same folks will stop using it. Life will have gotten busy. The shine will have worn off. Old habits will creep back in. That powerful new productivity app will feel somehow, “ordinary”.
Folks will realize that, at the end of the day, no app can do the work for you. You are the one who has to do the work.
How similar is this to prayer? Let me share a story to answer that from my own life.
A visit to my spiritual director a few months ago had me complaining about one thing or another. The man is an absolute saint for putting up with me. I don’t know how he does it. When I came up for air and stopped talking, he calmly said, “and have you been praying about this?”
Right... praying about it, that would have helped.
What he was really saying is this, “you can’t expect God to step in and make your problems go away if you’re not even willing to do the slightest bit of work”.
I’ve heard that mantra many times in the months since then, you have to do the work, you have to do the work, you have to do the work.
In this way, productivity and prayer are very similar. There is one significant difference that is probably obvious by now. With productivity, it’s all about you and your colleagues. When it comes to prayer, God is in charge. He’s doing the heavy lifting. His grace is mysterious and can be hard to figure out. His ways, as the passage says, are not always our ways.
Still, you’ve got to do the work.