Sunday, November 15, 2015

Prayers and Comfort--Reaching out to Paris and Beyond

     What is prayer? I mean, we know the theory, that praying is talking to God and all of that. But really, that's a very vague description. If I say that I'm #prayingforParis , what does that mean?
Especially in times of disaster and trouble, prayer seems like a good way to do nothing and hope the conflict all blows over. But I think this is such a painful misunderstanding of what it means for us to join hands and pray.
     Not all of us can fly to Paris to track down terrorists. Not all of us can travel as relief workers to all the places impacted by hurricanes and wildfires and other tragedies. Not all of us can afford to donate to agencies trying to help refugees in Syria and Turkey. But that does not mean we are useless!
     When we are weak, He is strong. When we are helpless, He has a plan. Though prayer may seem a pathetically small offering in the face of such trials, remember that it is so much more than simply a wish for peace. God is listening to our prayers. When it feels like there's nothing we can do, we look to the One who can do something and we ask, we beg Him to touch our world with His healing. When we cannot comfort the grieving, we ask Him to hold them close.
     One of the big things on social media following the incident is to draw attention to other disasters that have not received nearly as much press as Paris has. I won't tell you who or what to pray for. If God breaks your heart for Paris, pray for Paris. If He's directing your focus to somewhere else, let Him be the one who guides you. Don't shame people for praying for Paris; if that is what God has convicted you to pray for, follow His leading. God gives us all different purposes so that we can reach out to the whole world.
     So pray. Pray for Paris. Pray for the world. Don't ever stop praying, or letting people know that you're praying. Prayer is not useless. Prayer is the best thing we could be doing right now. It is through this communication with God that He will prompt our hearts to whatever action we are capable of. But while the world sees our actions, the basis of them should always, always be prayer. Please, join me tonight wherever you are in praying for Paris, for Syria, for Lebanon and Mexico and any and every place God lays on your heart. Reach out to God. If you are in any of these places, know that God is still with you. God is still present even in the most hopeless and heartbreaking disasters. He is our protector, our comforter. And it is He to whom I lift my eyes in prayer tonight.
     May God bless you all and keep you safe.


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