On Saturday, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti near their capital. It collapsed buildings and homes and destroyed access roads. Survivors have fled their homes in fear they may collapse. Recent reports show nearly 1,300 casualties and thousands injured. Now, a tropical storm system is approaching Haiti — a threat of further damage. This poses a severe humanitarian crisis for a country reeling due to COVID-19, political unrest, and more.
Taliban forces have now swallowed up Afghanistan. What we are witnessing is as shocking as it is heartbreaking. Regardless of how one feels about the policies that led us to this point, clearly, innocent lives are being threatened and a humanitarian crisis is rapidly unfolding.
There has been a resurgence of COVID that has triggered frustrations and fears and renewed concerns about how to move forward. Schools and parents are preparing the start of the year with these challenges, and so is Covenant. For now, we strongly encourage you to wear a mask if needed, and to stay home if you are at risk to yourself or others.
I could go on. I know you could too. I write this late on Tuesday knowing that additional updates to these and many other events will be provided, and more tragedies and challenges will rise in our personal lives and in our world. And sometimes I feel at a loss, overwhelmed, burdened by the weight of the needs around me.
I have a book on my shelf that caught my attention today simply by its title: “Don’t Just Stand There Pray Something”. I want to challenge and encourage myself and you with Paul’s words to young Timothy, “The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know.” (I Tim. 2:1)
Don’t become ambivalent, detached, anxious, fearful…don’t just stand there, pray something!
One of the most prayerful people I know once said if anyone tells you that prayer is natural, they are probably lying. They also said that anyone who acts like they have prayer all figured out scared him. You can have wordless prayers and word-filled prayerlessness. Essentially, prayer is communion with God, it’s being present to His presence. It’s talking, listening, wrestling, thanking, questioning, confessing, feeling, praising, asking, sharing…connecting. Prayer is a little child, confidently climbing upon his father’s lap and asking for the moon, knowing that what he shares will be heard.
I have a lot to talk to Jesus about these days even when I really have nothing to say. I just feel the weight and need to cast my cares. And I know He will listen. And I know He has the power to change things – including me!
Prayer puts things in perspective. It helps order our hearts, clear our thoughts, fill our tanks, and gain access to heavenly resources and spiritual weapons to fight the good fight in His strength. Praying with others brings us closer, it creates allies and advocates. It tears down walls and brings about healing from the inside out.
While these days are dark and tragic, remember that God sits on His throne in the heavens. He holds everything in His sovereign hand. Even when it doesn’t seem like it. Even when we can’t see it. Our God cares and is in control.
I’m praying for you every way I know how. It’s the first and best thing that I can do.