“Take time to be Holy, speak oft with thy Lord…”
The last few weeks we have experienced unaccountable violence in West Tennessee, and been grief stricken and appalled at violence in Las Vegas (and continued violence in our communities).
In an address in 2012, Pope Benedict spoke about the efficacy of prayer in confronting evil. He said, “When faced with evil we often have the sensation that we can do nothing, but our prayers are in fact the first and most effective response we can give, they strengthen our daily commitment to goodness. The power of God makes our weakness strong.”
As Christians our strength is in God, our strength is in the love Christ expressed in the Gospels, in our ability (and obligation) to make disciples of our Prince of Peace, and yes, our strength *is* in prayer as we commit to goodness and the transformation of the world. Our prayers and our communion with our Creator prepare us for the work required of us, can motivate us for the sometimes difficult steps we must take to confront evil, and open our minds and spirits to receive God’s direction.
Analyzing prayer and our call to it, a friend asked, “But aren’t we called to do more than pray? Shouldn’t sincere prayer lead to action?”
I replied that I think that’s the point. Worship, praise, prayer, thanksgiving, all these things prepare us spiritually and equip us and motivate us, or should motivate us, to do the work that the church is called to do. These things should move us to action. They should move us to follow the example of Christ, because as we do these things we are drawn closer to the mind of Christ. As we do these things, or as result of doing these things, we are discipling others, who also do these things. Ultimately, this transforms the world.
Another friend said, when talking about this, “I’m starting to think that we underestimate the power of prayer. The key is to get more people praying. In that way, we transform the angry hearts of those who would wreak havoc and do evil in the name of justice or safety.”
In his book, “In Constant Prayer”, Robert Benson said of the daily office (regularized daily prayer following a certain pattern), “… what if some of us are being drawn to say these prayers not to save ourselves but to save the whole world? Or to save the church?”
“What if?” indeed.