Tone Deaf in Crisis - Why We Post about Prayer on Social Media
#WePrayforParis and Prayers for #MaliHostages can come across as pretty tone deaf to the masses on social media. Some have even suggested that churches and pastors exploit these events for marketing purposes - this would be extremely tone deaf.
But the question that I bet is offered the most is this: "what good will your prayers do while guns are being pointed at people’s heads?"
That is fair question - one that strikes the core of my soul. What good are my prayers?
Terror makes you feel powerless. It sucks. And I will be the first to admit the absolute submission to those feelings of powerlessness. I hang my head and scream to myself “why can I let this happen in my world!” And then I weep - because, in my own strength, I can’t do anything.
I’m scared of guns so I stay away from them. This means I can’t go in Rambo-style and save the day. Some people say I am funny but going over and preforming an ill-timed stand-up routine seems pathetic and inefficient. I can write a blog and a few will read it, but I doubt the hostages are currently on Facebook checking out the Empty Church status updates.
Yep, I am pretty powerless. But I serve a powerful God.
Why I pray.
Following Jesus demands that you accept some basic assumptions. The foremost is that God loves us enough to send Jesus to restore our broken relationship. But there are other basic assumptions that give light to why I choose to pray and I find them when I read the Bible:
Here is another assumption I choose to believe. It is found in John 14:14. Jesus says that whatever is asked in His name he will be faithful to do it.
Now I admit that I can’t force God to do anything or that my prayers matter more than anyone else’s. But I believe that in my most powerless state - and that includes facing the nonsense of terrorist attack - I can ask God to intervene and to do something to salvage the savage situation.
I still get confused when the outcome is not what I wished for and that troubles me. I have no perfect answer to the large looming question of “why does a good God let bad things happen?” But I hold tight to the basic premise that if I ask, God will hear, and he will act out of his perfect love for humanity - despite whatever wishes I may have.
The Social Media symbol
So whenever you see “pray for” slogans on social media - and Empty Church uses them - try to understand that the powerless feelings send us straight back to our source of strength - the word of God. We latch on to the promise that Jesus gave us because it is the only rope some of us have. At the very least it the first rope we can quickly reach. Teleportation hasn’t been invented yet so we can’t instantly go and do. But we can instantly pray. And we can instantly remind others to as well.
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