Action prayer is nonverbal communication to God, using our attitudes and our attempts to obey, which draws its energy from Christ’s example and empowerment.
1. What Scriptures can you think of that encourage this plan of “action as acceptable prayer”? Look at Micah 6:6–8, Matthew 6:1–6, 1 Corinthians 10:31, Colossians 3:17, and James 2:26 if you want a refresher. There are plenty of others. How do these verses nuance the way you think of embodying prayer in action.
2. Protestants of certain traditions may feel that action prayer is a recapitulation of an overly familiar “Protestant work ethic.” What characteristics do action prayer and this work ethic share? How are they different? In what ways can action prayer be practiced so that the burden pray-ers feel is the “easy yoke” of Jesus’ promise (Matt 11:30)?
3. Imagine or recall a disturbing incident or person you have encountered. Now think of Jesus as that person or disruption, and move your mind through the situation with him instead of the original actor. Do not attempt to picture Jesus as mean or hurtful. He is not. Simply see him in place of that person, his image within that person (Gen 1:26). What difficulties does such a swap pose for you? What advantage might there be to modifying your behavior or your actions as if Jesus were actually the recipient?
4. Consider the communication a visual artist attempts to achieve. By depicting the world in a particular way, the painter or sculptor makes his perspective known without using words. How is this nonverbal message like the exchange of words? How is it different? How does the analogy of communicating through art expand the way you understand communicating through humble action?
5. Think about the proverb “actions speak louder than words.” What do your actions reveal about you? What do they say to God? What do they say about God to those watching you?