Tragedy and Opportunity

Recently, ASD was invited as one of the American Alpha centers to spend a few days in London with other churches that are running Alpha courses. Mandie Peace joined us for this 3-4 day event of sharing our experiences and reconnecting with the Alpha values. Another Dallas area church that was invited is Gateway Church in Southlake. Claudia and I had a chance to spend a week before the meeting to travel, disconnect from duties here, and reconnect with each other without all the responsibilities. Scotland and then the Normandy beaches of France were on our agenda. We are so grateful to God for this time away and had so much fun. We even had the opportunity to visit a member of ASD who is in school at St. Andrew’s in Scotland. The whole time away was storybook. No real plan except to be with each other, laugh, pray, and explore.

Upon our arrival home we first heard about the tragedy in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Coming at the end of some of the best 2 weeks we have had together, we were confronted with yet another tragedy on our return home. This, of course, comes on the heels of several natural disasters in the Caribbean, Florida, Puerto Rico, Texas, and Mexico that have left so many people distraught and homeless. It seems as though breaking news stories can dominate and pileup causing despair and hopelessness.

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.”

Tragedy and opportunity. Take time to respond in prayer for the needs of so many affected by current events.