"Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you."
This apparently is a quote of St Augustine.
I am aware of the important place this man holds in Church history. I honor his influence and teaching.
I think I can see the point and angle from which he gives this advice.
I strongly disagree with it.
I would rather advise: pray and work knowing that everything depends on God, a God who is just and merciful, a God who loves his enemies, which included us, a God who loves us so much, that he didn’t hold back from giving up his own precious and dearly loved Son, for our sakes, and therefore has no reason to hold back any other good thing from us. A God who is truly unbiased, able to consider every individual in the course of events and history, in order to justly and mercifully bring about his purpose, which is to bring everything under the authority of his Son, Jesus. A God who is never far away from any one of us.
I think we can do a lot of damage when we act as though everything depends on us. Not only do we make bad decisions, unnecessarily offending/hurting people we don’t love, but also we burn out, realising the unending list of painful chores that we are faced with, having to fix the unfixable problems that inevitably raise their heads, every day, not to mention the mess we make through our own self importance.
And unfortunately, we do pray as though everything depended on God. We don’t really believe it, but we pray nicely, as if we did.
It is much better to pray badly, from a true need, knowing we are truly weak, unable to cope with the simplest issues in our own strength, and having exhausted all other resources. God is always present. He is always blessing and providing, though we often attribute our successes to our own strengths/abilities.
It is much better to believe that God can fix things, (which he does, in his way, in his time, in his love and mercy) and work at the tasks we are responsible for (our God-given responsibility), knowing that God gives us all the strength we need, in spite of Satan’s many devices, which God allows him to throw in our direction. And God promises never to push us beyond what we can stand, and always to have a way through our difficulties which he provides), even though this may mean walking through the valley of death (with and in his presence).
I am weak, but you are strong. I can do everything that you ask of me, because you are with me.