The Antithesis of Prayer


May 31, 2018

Genesis 11:1-9

Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. 2 As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.

3 They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. 4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”

5 But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. 6 The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”

8 So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. 9 That is why it was called Babel—because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.


Some years back I saw a story about an ad campaign running on subways in one of America’s major cities. The signs said, “Prayer won’t cure aids. Research will.”

It feels like such a brazen swing at God. That’s the spirit of Babel.

God has given the human race enormous power. Though OUR power does not come within a million miles of the power of God, we somehow believe they can rival God.

Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves;

This story we know as the “Tower of Babel” reveals the antithesis of prayer, which is conspiring together against God to build our own kingdom. It is making agreements with one another to the end that “our kingdom come and our will be done, in heaven as it is on earth.”

Whether we mean to or not, when we leave God out of the equation, we start building our own tower. This happens in the world on a grand scale every day. As the followers of Jesus, we don’t feel so susceptible  to doing such a thing.

I wonder though, what does God think when we hatch our plans and develop our blueprints first and only ask God to get on board when we run into challenges?

I’ve learned over the years in writing the Daily Text to ask for help early—like before I write the first word. It works so much better than asking him to bail out my half baked idea mid way through. In fact, I think I’ll leave it there for now. Anything else today could well be more babel.

And to be sure, prayer won’t cure AIDS; neither will research. Only God can do that.


Lord Jesus, you are right here, right now. You see the end of all things even before the beginning. Forgive me for launching into my plans without inquiring of you. Train me to walk with you in such a way that I only do what I see you doing and only say what I hear you saying. I’m weary of my own ways. I need Holy Spirit instincts. Right here, Jesus. Right now Jesus. Amen.


  1. What is it about us that wants to launch out with our own agenda and plans to do things for God and then ask him to bless them?
  2. What keeps us from beginning with God?
  3. What would it look like to walk with God in such a way that our agenda and plans flow out of relationship? What does a step in that direction look like for you?

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J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ.


Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.