We all are impacted in some way as we hear of the senseless tragedy in San Bernardino. We hear the political voices clamoring over one another telling us the solution is found in gun control. NO… it is found in closing the border. Not quite, we need to redouble our effort in bombing ISIS. Whoa-we are way off! We need to double or even triple the funds going into mental health and we need to reopen public facilities that were shuttered in the 80’s to house those with severe psychological issues.
I am certainly not opposed to every solution mentioned. No doubt, there are things that need to be done by our society but the church has historically been a place for people who are shell-shocked and struggling to come and to make sense of tragedy. We reflect, we spend time dwelling with one another. Most importantly, we pray, and pray and pray some more.
We pray for God to work in a miraculous way among those who are most impacted. We pray for God to pick up the pieces of this broken world and do something amazing with them. We pray for the Holy Spirit to so impact us that we move forward with the love of God, despite the hatred and malevolence that hits us head on. We even pray for our enemies, that God would impact them in such a way that they stop hating and they experience a change of heart and of mind. (This in itself, is a huge miracle.)
Prayer has been and continues to be a major tool that church can offer our community. And today, we have people attacking this. They tell us that we need more than “empty and meaningless prayers.” We need to be active in doing something not just putting up words into the sky to a God that does not exist or does not care.
Hear me clearly, these naysayers are so far off the mark. Church, don’t stop praying. PRAYER CHANGES THINGS!! Prayer makes a difference in you and in the world around you.
You cannot control most happenings in this world. We cannot control a crazed gunman who hunts down people and executes them. We cannot control the ideology of whole tribes of people on another continent and how they choose to respond to neighboring people. We cannot control the speech of a religious leader in Europe or the Mideast or even in our own backyard.
So focus yourself on the things you can control. You can control your heart. Do you find yourself being a peacemaker, being salt and light? Are you a reliable voice for our Savior? Does your speech match the rhetoric of Jesus when he walked the earth?
Focus on the things you can control. You can control the people you connect with. Are you connecting with people who champion the things of God? Does your circle cheer you and your family on as you aspire to live out the gospel?
Focus on the things you can control. While I cannot control the world and the events that so often devastate people, I can control the prayers that I share with my heavenly Father. I can pray, even when voices in our culture mock and disdain me for doing so.
Yes tonight, I prayer for those who have lost loved ones in San Bernardino.
I pray for the people who have been injured, and will carry the scars from that terrible day for the rest of their lives.
I pray for the people who were on sight at the time of the shooting.
I pray for the first responders. I pray for the police and FBI as they are trying to learn from and investigate the scene.
I pray for the reporters that they report accurately without political tinges.
I pray for the politicians as they lead us through this crisis and not move us toward their specific leaning.
I pray for those who identify with the evildoer. Would they come to see these actions for what they are…futile. And would God work in their hearts and lives the peace that Jesus offers.
Would you join me in this prayer today?