As a seamstress since age 13, I have collected a variety of colored spools of thread through the years. Stored in boxes and cabinets, at times the threads get intertwined and end up in a complete mess of knots. My response is to patiently untwine the threads or cut off the knots and reorganize the spools.
Finding solutions to knotted and tangled threads is easy. Finding answers to knotted and tangled tragedies in our world seem insurmountable. The intertwining messes of deadly shootings, catastrophic storms, loss, and destruction need solutions. But the solutions are more than human sized. We watch from a distance or sit with those who are hurting and wonder “what can I do”?
In these tragic times, we as believers in Jesus know that only God Almighty has the solutions to the messes around us. He knows that we live in a broken world full of sin and evil. And His heart is broken over this evil.
“The LORD observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil….It broke his heart.” Genesis 6:5-6
“The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18
God most often chooses to show his compassion for the hurting through the actions of His people. So what is our most fruitful response to those people who live far away or close by? The most fruitful response is to PRAY.
How is it that we often say? — “Well, all I can do is pray.” Yet that is the best thing we can do. Our prayers have a deep effect on God working in this world and in people’s lives. Here is what God says about prayer:
“The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” James 5:16
“…the prayer of the upright is acceptable to him. “ Proverbs 15:8
“For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer…” 1 Peter 3:12
Paul, who preached the good news of Jesus, urged believers to pray and intercede for others:
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” Ephesians 6:18
What do we pray for those who are hurting and suffering through tragedies?
1. Pray that they will know God’s comfort and peace.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction,” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
2. Pray that those who don’t know God personally will come to trust His great love for them through Jesus.
“but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
3. Pray for God to give them wisdom and guidance in making daily decisions in their trials and sufferings.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5
4. Pray for other Christians around them to show compassion and mercy, serving them with kindness as they give to their physical needs.
“Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” Colossians 3:12
Will you respond to the recent tragedies in our nation and communities by committing to pray 10 to 15 minutes daily for these individuals and their lives? Ask another friend to pray together with you in your home, on the phone, through a text. We need the hand of God to move in a mighty way in our nation and He hears our prayers as we ask Him to work. The fruitful response of our prayers can change our world because Almighty God, who is loving and compassionate, is all powerful. He can do anything as we trust in Him to answer our prayers.
“The greatest thing anyone can do for God and for man is to pray. You can do more than pray after you have prayed but you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed.” S.D. Gordon
“God shapes the world by prayer. The more praying there is in the world the better the world will be, the mightier the forces against evil.” E.M.Bounds