Ask Father Paul ...071608

Father Paul Massey's picture

Pastors get some of the most interesting questions from people they meet and people in their congregations. Here are a few questions that I’ve gotten during my years of ministry and via email for this column.

Dear Father Paul: My husband is a world class procrastinator. His motto is “never do today what you can put off until tomorrow.” Last fall he “forgot” to renew our car tags. Guess what? He didn’t get stopped, I did. It cost me $100. The officer wouldn’t believe that I am married to a moron ... just kidding. But seriously, I have nagged, begged and threatened but nothing works. He almost lost his job last year because he didn’t complete a major project on time. He is a believer and a regular church goer. Any suggestions? — No Name

Dear No Name: Procrastination is the act of willfully delaying doing something which should be done. It’s a huge problem for lots and lots of people today ... men and women, teens and even kids. Some experts say that procrastinators are somehow “wired differently” than non procrastinators. Procrastinators just don’t see it as a serious problem because to them, it isn’t. They say to themselves, “getting it done is what’s important; when it gets done isn’t so important. A day or two late? No big deal.” If you are married to a procrastinator or have to work along side one, it can drive you up the wall!

You say that your husband is a believer. That’s good. Lovingly and respectfully (men don’t like to be disrespected) explain to him that overt procrastination is a poor witness for a believer, and thus, not pleasing to God. There are lots of procrastinators in the Bible. They all ended up badly. One of the best examples is the Apostle Paul witnessing about Christ to the Roman official Felix in Acts 24. After Paul told Felix about what God had done through Jesus, Felix said, “That’s enough for now. You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.” So far as we know from the Biblical account, Felix died never having been reconciled to God. How sad. His procrastination probably cost him eternal life with God in heaven.

Also, share this verse with your husband from Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as (if) working for the Lord, not for men.” If all of us would put our hearts into whatever we are asked to do as if we were being asked by God, we would probably find it much more difficult to procrastinate.

Dear Father Paul: Why do you use a “prayer book” in your services? Can’t you make up the prayers for your services spontaneously as you go along? — Mark

Dear Mark: Good question. I’ll answer, but first let me ask you a question. Why do people use a hymnal in their church services? Can’t they make up songs with words and music spontaneously as they go along?

They can’t and don’t of course. That’s my point, and it’s why almost all churches have hymnals, or song books or project songs for worship on a screen. The songs were written often over decades or even centuries by men and women under Gods anointing for use by God’s people in worship ... as helps and guides.

In the same way The Book of Common Prayer, which we use at the Church of the Holy Cross, was written (in the 1500s) by anointed writers to help people in their worship. The majority of the text of the Book of Common Prayer is taken directly from the Bible. Over 75 percent of the world’s Christians use some type of prayer book or service guide in their services. The Prayer Books give direction and guidance to the service to help make sure the service does the things that God wants done, like confessing our sins and reading publicly from the Bible to name just two. I, for one, don’t think God wants us to “just wing it” in worship. Neither is he pleased with “dead” church services. There must and should be spontaneity. Prayer books are like the “tracks” that a train runs on taking it to its destination. A train needs tracks to run on. Otherwise the train would never get anywhere and you’d have a train wreck.

Got a question for the column? Email me at or call me at 678- 457-3050.

Do you need someone to help you pray for a need you have? Email or call me and I will pray for you. I do not need to know your name.

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