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Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Pray for the hurting

In my last post, I reflected on the different responses to disaster and I suggested that the Gospel of John, chapter 11 teaches us about how different people might respond to suffering and pain. One of the responses is prayer.

I encourage you to pray for a fresh glimpse of God's vision so that we can see with His eyes, and we can resonate with His heartbeat to feel with Him, to weep with Him. Most of all, so we can be moved by Him to act as He would have us act.Often, when we pray, we might be tempted to pray away the pain, or to pray away the problem, but that usually is not what God intends in prayer. When those who sent word to Jesus to ask Him to go to Lazarus because he was sick, instead of acting, Jesus stayed a little longer where He was. They probably didn't get why He took his time and did not sense the urgency.

They tried to be as persuasive as possible, "The one you love is sick."

Come quickly, Lord!

Yet, He lingered. Then a few days later, He decided it was time for Him to go to Lazarus.

As I was talking to my wife about the recent devastation unfolding in Asia the last couple of days, my wife mentioned to me that over the last few years she has learned something about God: His time is not our time. Yet, He always, but always, comes through. How he showed that truth in this Gospel incident!

His disciples did not get it. He had to explain His mission. Martha did not seem to get it. He needed to reveal Himself to her. Even Mary seemed not to get it. All He did was to weep. Perhaps, as we quietly reflect on His grief, let us pray that we get it. Pray that we get what He is about.

But, as I have said before, prayer is not all about getting on our knees and merely pleading with God. It is about getting up off our knees and rolling up our sleeves and letting His Spirit move us to act in His name. So, pray that He reveals that clearly to us and pray for courage to act. And having done so, go forth boldly in the name of the Lord!

If you would like to start by praying,
Messy Christian has appropriately opened a virtual prayer room for the disaster. I encourage you to go there to join with those who are going before the throne of God's grace to intercede for the suffering.