Moving the Hand of God
Six weeks ago I wrote a newsletter following the events of tragic hurricanes and violence in our country. Given the most recent tragedy at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, I think it is important to revisit suggestions on how to respond. This event has even deeper spiritual issues since it involved a massacre at a church where people were worshiping. Politicians from around the country have weighed in on the efficacy of prayer and whether or not God cares or has the power to stop such events. Natural questions to be sure, but there are solid responses. The staff of ASD is in communication with those near the epicenter of this tragedy to see how we can best respond financially or in any other way. We will let you know how this takes place over the next several weeks. The following are questions and suggestions I recommended several weeks ago after another tragic event and they are still relevant today:
How do we pray for breaking new stories? When tragedies occur how can we respond? I recently read an article that can give us some good practical prayer advice. Prayer really does move the hand of God and can change the course of history. Yet, we live in a world where tragedy, danger, and death are a daily reality. When the world is shaking around us, where do we turn? How do we pray? Here is advice from a 24-7 prayer movement guide that can help us see the opportunities we have to respond.
- Get informed – gather the basis of the stories from a trustworthy source. What’s happening? Where? Who is affected? Who will be respondent? What are the needs right now?
- Pray for people – pray for those who are negatively affected. Pray for those who have lost families, friends, and loved ones. Pray for those who are still in danger.
- Pray for circumstances – what are the problems that only God can fix? Ask God to intervene and for God’s presence to be felt.
- Pray for those in power – who are the decision-makers that can impact the story? Pray for mercy, compassion and wisdom as a deal with the situation.
- Pray for the church – who can spread God’s love and hope in the situation? Pray for pastors, churches and nongovernmental organizations; that they would be equipped with all they need in the situation.
- Share your prayer – use appropriate social media to share your prayers and inspire others to add their “amen” too.
No doubt, there will be many opportunities to implement how we can respond in these situations. Another prayer tool we have is the The Book of Common Prayer. On page 148, it contains the Great Litany. This ancient prayer is over 500 years old yet it is so relevant today. It covers a variety of prayer intercessions and requests. For example, one request asks, “deliver us from lightning, and tempest; from earthquake, fire and flood: from plague pestilence and famine.” Another request asks to be delivered from “all oppression, conspiracy and rebellion: from violence, battle and murder: and from dying suddenly and unprepared.”
On an unrelated note, this Sunday we'll be having our Confirmation services. If you've never been to one of ours I highly recommend that you come. It's a deeply meaningful time when those parishioners who wish to become members of All Saints receive the laying on of hands and words of knowledge from the Lord that I and other clergy have received about them. Come and see!