The soul of America is do-it-yourself. From the pioneers to the engineers, from the entrepreneurs to the politicians, the self-made man is the highest ideal. Rambo personifies the one-against-all, triumph-by-my-own-resources mentality. In the 1800s Horatio Alger Jr. promoted the “rags to riches” storyline in his popular novels, always of a character who was amply rewarded for his self-reliance and hard work. Whether it be defeating infectious diseases or inventing military drones to bomb terrorists, Americans know we can do it all — by ourselves.
No wonder prayer enjoys such small popularity: its essence is to rely on God. Throughout the classroom, the media and circles of friends, we are told directly and indirectly to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps. Then in church, we are told to let God pull ourselves up. Depending on another — even if that other is God — runs contrary to our common sense.
Consider the marvels of prayer! How much do you depend on yourself? How much on God? Chuck Colson, President Nixon‘s hatchet man, was shocked when he read the Bible for himself and discovered that his favorite “verse” actually is NOT in the Bible: “God helps those who help themselves.”
People who live off of handouts get scorned. But what about if the handout is from God?