“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” George Orwell

Thursday, May 06, 2021

Suffering and prayer

 I was watching a TV show last night. In it, a couple was separated. As children, there was a scene where they were hiding from school authorities by lying on their backs in a field. At a poignant moment, the boy reaches over and holds the girl's hand. Later, they are best friends. When they are separated from each other, each lays in bed thinking of that event of holding the other's hand. Each  reaches out their hand to a space next to them and thinks of the other but no one is there. They are each completely helpless.

As I watched that, I felt sad. There was nothing they could do but sadly think about their missing friend and whether they would see them again. They could do nothing to help the other and perhaps alleviate whatever they might be facing.

I have been in that place where I knew of the suffering of friends and others that I love. But there was something that I could do. I could pray. Prayer is always a good practice. But particularly when you are in a place where there is nothing else that you can do, God provides something extremely powerful that you can do. You can pray. That is a big comfort! You have the ability to boldly approach God and ask him to intervene in a situation (Hebrews 4:16). You ask him for his will to be done (Mark 14:36). You ask him to comfort and give grace to those who are going through a difficult time (2 Corinthians 12:9). You ask him to help you and those for whom you are praying to not worry (Philippians 4:6).

People will also sometimes say, there was nothing I could do but pray. Can you see that prayer is the first and the best thing you could do? Of course when there are other ways to assist, we should try to do those things. However, prayer should not be minimized.

A hard right turn...

I worry about the direction our country is going in. We are moving away from foundational principles like freedom of speech. I talk about this in my university classes, but otherwise I am not sure what to do. But the Bible tells us what we can do. In 2 Chronicles 7:14 the Lord said the following to Solomon.

...if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Notice it says "if MY people, who are called by MY name, will humble themselves and pray..." We have power to change our direction. The answer is not whining and condemnation of others. A major part of the answer is people's prayer.


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