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Pastor's Notes from The Scribe (August 2016)

posted Aug 16, 2016, 3:59 AM by Russell D. Hampton

Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. ~ 1 John 3:18

Following the heinous act of violence in Orlando, Florida this past June, I came across a colleague’s post on Facebook.  The post had a picture of the night skyline of the city of Orlando.  On the picture it had “Pray for Orlando” (yes, the word “pray” had a strikethrough).  Did my colleague mean we should cease praying for the victims and their families or not pray at all?  By all means, NO!  Under the picture he had an explanation which included, “We are past a time of prayer and preaching… it is a time for action.”  He did not mean we should cease praying.  What he meant was that he was tired of the political rhetoric being a simple “let’s pray” with no action flowing forth from that prayer.  We hear over and over again in the face of gun violence, “We are very sorry for the victims and their families; we will keep them in our prayers,” but we see little to no action from our political leaders accompanying those prayers. And we need action… some plan to work towards making our country safer instead of the constant in-fighting of our elected leaders where next to nothing gets done in regards to this issue and we witness yet another mass shooting on our TV screens.  But… we still need prayer so that God’s Spirit can direct us to how we can faithfully address our elected leaders; how we can meet people in their needs with love and peace; and how we can live in the kingdom of the world while living in the kingdom of God. 

Now, I am not going to get into political discussions on gun control, 2nd Amendment rights, mental health issues, religious and racial differences, immigration, etc.  I’m going to share with you the need for prayer and what I think it should be doing in our lives.

  1. Prayer helps us stay connected to God: We hear in Luke 11:10-11, “So I tell you: Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”  I think this Scripture means that God will give us what God thinks we need.  Nevertheless, I believe it also has a deeper meaning – we should stay connected to God because we do not know what God will reveal to us and when it will be revealed.  So, don’t miss an opportunity to see what God has in store for you.  Stay connected through prayer!
  2. Prayer should spur us to action: There are many occasions in the Gospels where Jesus goes off to pray and then returns to his hands on ministry.  In Luke 9, Jesus goes up a mountain to pray with Peter, James and John.  On the mountain he is transfigured before them.  When they come down from the mountain, what happens?  He heals a boy suffering from an unclean spirit.  Our prayers should not be for our own sakes only.  Our prayers should stir us to action in this world.  Our prayers should compel us forward to work towards justice and goodness for all.
  3. Prayer gives us peace: In Philippians 4:6-7, Paul writes, “Do not be anxious about anything. Instead, in every situation, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, tell your requests to God. And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Our prayers will keep us in the peace of Christ.  When we dwell in Christ’s peace, we can be agents of God’s peace in this world. 

The “gist” of what I am attempting to write – our prayer should inspire godly action and our action should come from our prayer connection with God.  Do not cease in praying… for you do not know how the Triune God will guide you to act in this world. 

In Christ ~ Pastor Maureen