Sunday, March 13, 2011

Shall We Pray?

The last couple of weeks we have been bombarded by images almost too awful for our little minds to comprehend. Earthquakes in Christchurch, New Zealand and now the devastation of an even larger one in Japan. In a time where every moment in every corner of the world can be instantly and forever captured by a phone or a camera and shared with the world in seconds via the Internet, little is left to our imaginations.

Who can ever forget the footage in Japan-the quake and tsunami that followed? The river of water racing across dry land, covering towns and fields and communities, taking with it untold lives, cars, buildings and homes. Entire homes! Last I heard, there were four complete trains missing, swept away into what? It's the Wizard of Oz on crack. There will be no Oz and there will be no going back to Kansas by the click of ruby slippers. Hundreds are missing and the count is rising every hour. Our hearts are heavy with each new piece of information we take in, each new photograph or video brings further sorrow.

Meanwhile, we sit in our comfortable homes and carry on with our lives. Soccer games, shopping, going out to lunch. A trip to the gym, reading mail. What are we to do? What should we do? What would God have us to do? Maybe we need to stop and ask. And then, we actually need to do something. Too often we stop short of the action that is so needed and which is the very act of obedience that He is forever calling us to.

Some can give. To the Salvation Army, or the Red Cross or World Vision or other reputable organizations on the ground already who will put your donations to good use. I was able to go online and make a donation in less than 90 seconds without ever having to leave my home. I just felt compelled to do something and that was the start. Each of us can pray. Wherever we are, whatever our lot, we can pray, today, for the people whose lives have literally been swept away in a few minutes of absolute terror. We so often overlook this most valuable act which costs us nothing but a moment of time. We throw our hands up, frustrated at our helplessness, overlooking the most valuable offering of all, prayer, for those in need. It is the most precious support we can give.

In the days ahead, the images appear with less frequency and the news will spend less time on the events we are now seeing every time the TV is turned on. The news cycle will go on to something more current and more titillating. For now, use the images for good. Each time you see one, make it your aim to take that moment to pray for the people who so need us to lift them up to the Father. Good can only come from this horrible catastrophe if we as a people will rise up and cry out to the God who can do what we are unable to. Our resources are too limited and the distance too great, but we serve a God who is able to do far more than we can even imagine. When we pray. So, I challenge you to pray. Pray for:

~Revival for the hearts and souls of the people of Japan. That they would know the peace that comes from knowing the Saviour, even in the midst of devastation.

~The physical needs for food, water and shelter.

~An astounding outpouring of generosity from those of us who can afford to give, that we would be compelled to give above and beyond what we think we can.

~The reunion of families torn apart

~That our hearts and minds would not forget, that our prayers would not be just today when the images are freshly imprinted on our minds, but, in the weeks and months ahead.

~For the workers there who will serve those whose lives have been shaken to their cores. Give them strength and faith and the resources they need to help those in need.

~For opportunities to share the Gospel with others here, who are scared by these horrific events and shaken to their cores.

We are told in Hebrews 4:16 to "...come boldly before the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Let this be our mission. To ask, and then to act. Hearts and minds and lives depend on it. Please join me in this mission, here, wherever you are. I'd be grateful if you would. More importantly, God will be honored and He will act. Be a part of something world changing. This moment.

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