Author Greg Darley Talks to Rocking God’s House
I’ve recently discovered a very interesting book called Wasted Prayer. The author is Greg Darley, and he is the leader of International Justice Mission’s College Mobilization Team. He leads more than 70,000 college students across the country to engage in the work of justice. Before that, he was founder and director of BackstageLeadership.org, which, according to the website, is a national Christian leadership training program connecting and equipping Christian leaders, church planters, and pastors.
And now he can add first-time author to his impressive resume, thanks to this incredibly thought-provoking book. The basic message of the book directs Christians to the heart and purpose of prayer. The way Darley explains it, prayer should not be just a transaction like you would make at your local convenient store. It is part of a complete relationship with God that is marked by total obedience to Him. In his own words: “…sometimes when you think you’re praying, you’re really just procrastinating. And when you think you’re asking that God’s will be done, you’re really telling him no. In times that call for action, prayer can be disobedience in disguise.”
The book is a must-read for the Christian seeking fresh purpose and motivation in his or her journey with God. He urges us not to just pray like Christians, but to start living like the ones inside our minds and hearts.
People tend to get stuck in routine, and prayer is no different. Do you think this book could be an eye-opener for people?
I think there is something good about routine. Historically, the Church has had numerous practices that have helped develop discipline and led to routine both with prayer and the Sabbath. The different seasons of the Church have helped create a rhythm of discipline which is good. I think it is a great thing. The reality of that is how much of that is implemented into our own lives and our personal journeys. I hope that the book will help some people look at prayer in a new way. It will help them not use prayer just as a transaction with hopes to only get something from God, whether it be, “God, I need a miracle, I lost my job, someone is sick, or we need wisdom” — that type of thing — “I got two job offers, I have offers from several different colleges to attend.” All of that is great, and we want to pray in those times to the Lord when we are seeking an answer or seeking help for an event that happened in life. But I hope that people will also not use prayer just to get something, like an answer or wisdom or to get a miracle, but they will go just to get a deeper relationship with God — [that] is kind of my hope.
Do you think, in your opinion, that God is more responsive to prayers if you put them into action versus just asking for things and waiting for an answer?
Well, I don’t want to speak for God [laughs]. But I would say there are definitely certain times we pray, and I think that God answers, yet he is also looking for action for us to do something. Again I think that part of the message in this book, and that people may come to realize, is when God calls on you to do something, he wants you to actually do it and not just pray about it.
What kind of prayers do you think could actually be considered sinful?
I prefer to say sometime we use prayer in a form of disobedience. I like that language in the fact that a simple prayer or when God calls on you to do something we just pray about it and we don’t do it. At some point you are acting on disobedience, and when we aren’t doing something that God is calling us to do I think that could be called sin: you are not loving your neighbor as yourself, husbands are not loving their wives like Christ loved the Church. With being disobedient in those situations, I think plenty of people would feel free to call you out on that when you are just praying for something.
What specific actions do you hope that readers of this book will take in their personal journeys?
I sincerely believe that all of us have a specific calling and specific dreams that God wants us to accomplish. Some of those are huge. Some of those are to start non-profits that will serve millions of people or start companies that will provide tons of jobs and start schools that will educate tons of children. Some people will have callings just to make an incredible impact in their local neighborhoods or in their kid’s school or in their apartment complex or even in their dorm room. So my hope is that people will start pursuing those dreams and start pursuing those callings that God has put on their hearts; but something is holding them back, some type of fear or some circumstance that I hope that they are able to overcome so that they can take the leap and do what God has called them to do. Could you just imagine if there was just one thing that God called upon people to do, just one thing that they actually started doing? Think about what kind of impact we could all make.