While it's true the Bible tells us to pray about everything (Philippians 4.6), there are some non-negotiables that we just need to accept and do. It's today's world of relativism, it’s easy to misappropriate a requirement for a request, following our own desires over His, or simply overthinking.
It’s prudent to understand that weighing our decision to act is not the same as weighing how we should act or respond to something. As followers of Christ, some things don't require long deliberation about whether we should or shouldn’t, they just require our “yes” — moving from "should I" to "how do I” be like in Christ in what’s before me. While we may always have to pray about the "how" (in the moment or before), here are 6 things that we don't have to pray about doing.
1] Having Free Will
Free will is one of God’s greatest gift to mankind. In fact, true love is contingent upon free will being available — having the option to choose. Although God willingly gifts us free will, it’s our free will that He wants to win over for His glory and participation in His Kingdom. Good or bad, our free will choices are responsible for the state of the world today.
Often, it can be very tempting and convenient to deduce our options down to scenarios that are of our liking or that benefit us the most. But no matter the circumstances presented, we still and always have a choice. While it's true that we have to pray about "how" to use our free will, we don't have to pray for it because it's already been given to us.
🛑 Don’t pray for: Free will.
✅ Do pray for: How to use your free will to glorify God and love your neighbor.
2] Loving People
Contrary to how we feel sometimes, the decision to love people is not one that we have to pray about. In fact, Jesus commands us to love others just as He loves us (John 13.34-35). The catch to this is that some people make it VERY hard to love them, and sometimes, they never change. So, while we may have to pray about how to love them (ex. from a distance), or pray to reconcile our own feelings, including praying for help with forgiveness (Ephesians 4.32), loving people is non-negotiable — every day, all day. Even our enemies (Matthew 5.43-48).
🛑 Don’t pray for: Whether you should love people.
✅ Do pray for: How to love people well, as God loves you, including and especially the difficult ones.
3] Forgiving People
Pain and hurt are the toughest things to forgive and move on from. As such, it’s a common mistake to confuse forgiving with forgetting. Truth is, you may never "forget" what happened to you, and moving on may not even be a fathomable possibility at the time. But forgiveness simply means that we release the burden or debt that we hold against someone. And while it doesn't necessarily release them from the consequences of those actions (Colossians 3.25), forgiveness, in fact, frees us!
Jesus even instructs us that we cannot be forgiven by Him for things we've done wrong until we have forgiven those who've wronged us (Matthew 6.14-15). Forgiveness then is not optional but essential to living the life that Christ intends for us, and that includes freedom from guilt, shame, and unforgiveness.
🛑 Don’t pray for: Whether to forgive someone.
✅ Do pray for: How to bring your will (and emotions) into agreement with God to forgive regardless of your feelings about the situation or person.
While we would never admit it, we sometimes tend to treat our decision to pray like a decision to pray about something. All relationships are foundationally built upon communication or suffer for a lack thereof. Our relationship with Christ isn't any different. While what we pray for and how we pray can vary, our decision to pray and have an ongoing dialogue with Christ is a non-negotiable (1 Thessalonians 5.16-18).
🛑 Don’t pray for: Whether you should pray.
✅ Do pray for: What to pray for and how you should pray. And the Holy Spirit’s help in praying (Romans 8.26-27).
5] Serving and Helping People
While every need is not yours to meet, we’re all called to be the voice, hands, and feet of Jesus in the world to believers and non-believers alike. If the people of God don't speak up, and if we don't serve, then who will? How would the followers of Christ be distinguished from the world?
Jesus said let the greatest among you be the greatest servant (Matthew 23.11). Leading people means serving people. Although we lead with varying levels of responsibility and experience, we’re all called to lead in some capacity, regardless of title or position.
🛑 Don’t pray for: Whether you should serve or help people.
✅ Do pray for: Where and how you’re to serve and help people. Pray for resources and a clear direction (if truly needed).
Don’t be surprised if God taps you to give sacrificially. In fact, expect and plan for it. Sometimes we can busy ourselves with so much that we miss God-led opportunities to help and serve. Sometimes we can overthink ourselves into believing that “they” or “them people” will help someone and we’re actually the “they” and “them” for that moment and situation.
What good is our faith if it has no works? Faith is not just believing, faith means doing (James 2.14-26).