Gaza. Israel. Ukraine. Russia. Syria. Air catastrophes. Serial sexual abuse. Kidnapped Girls. Poverty. Injustice. Ineffectual governments…plus any number of personal/community/family challenges….
How do you pray with all that? How do you cope with the heartache and despair that these things bring? How do you bring these things to God? How do you feel about the apparent inaction of God in the face of such calamities?
These are all big questions and they remain the questions of a lot of people who are somehow turned-off faith or the idea of God. The questions are just as real for followers of God in the way of Jesus. You might think that this blog will be moving towards an easy step by step answer, but it just isn’t.
It is not that I couldn’t rehearse the standard evangelical answers to these questions. It isn’t that I doubt God’s existence or his power to act. I could tell you the standard answers about ‘how prayer works’ but I guess you might know them too. At the moment, I just find them all a bit simplistic and overly optimistic in the face of terror.
So have I stopped praying? Not at all. For me, prayer is as much about changing me as it is anything else. There are lots of things that we must leave to God. But I think God is interested in my response and it is in prayer that I hear God’s heart. From that place, listening to the still small voice, I act, live, give, respond and share.
When I pray, I don’t tell God what to do. So, for example, I may just sit for a while and hold the people of the Middle East before God and say ‘your will be done, your Kingdom come’ and I allow myself to enter into the suffering of the people in the way Jesus did when he walked the planet. What does this do? It brings me into solidarity with the world and it aligns my own heart with God’s desire to see his kingdom established. It also motivates me to do what I can to be the answer to my own prayers.
Thats how things are for me. I offer it incase it is a help to you.