A bad oil spill washes upon the shores of one of the most scenic and popular beaches in California, near Santa Barbara. It's already wreaking havoc, messing up the beaches and killing wildlife. My son, who fishes a lot near there, is Facebooking friends to accompany him in a volunteer effort to help. I am praying (and proud) for his effort in this unfortuante event.
Last night I watched on network television, the American version of "Red Nose Day," a massive fundraiser effort to support local charities that help families and children in impoverished situations. A popular and successful event in the United Kingdom, celebrities attempt to entertain us and pull on our heart-strings, much like "Stand Up to Cancer" and the "Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Telethon" while encouraging us to call with our pledge donations.
I got a chance to browse through the yearbook today of the high school I work at. There were several pages, each with at least 6 clubs represented on each page. If I counted, I know there must be more than 50 clubs on campus, the majority, service clubs doing something positive for their community, their world.
Volunteering. Giving of time. Donating. Sacrificing. Showing up. Helping. Prayer.
You might say...one of these things is not like the other...
How is prayer making a difference? How is that a tangible thing? We can't count it. We can't pay for things with it. It doesn't give us more daylight. Turn back the clock. If you're head is in your hands, your hands aren't helping. Your eyes aren't seeing...It doesn't do the shopping, dig the wells, buy the medicine, teach a mother a skill so she can work, rescue a child from trafficking, save a life...
"Prayer is a shield to the soul, a sacrifice to God, and a scourge for Satan." ~ John Bunyan
Maybe my prayer began for my son to get more involved in community, to meet more people to influence him outside of his immediate circle...
Maybe my prayer showed up in a text and encouraged someone who was on the verge of making a bad decision.
Maybe, a prayer in a public place before a meal sparks a conversation and a chance to share, reflect your Hope.
Maybe your prayer is as tangible as making you late and thus avoiding an accident on the freeway.
Maybe a prayer of provision found you opening your mailbox to find a check written to you for the exact amount of the electricity about to be shut off that day, or had you writing the check.
Maybe you want more of God in your grief, and you know others are praying. Your eyes are opened up to see a purple flower on your walk everyday, or the skies alive with butterflies.
Maybe your humble prayer finds you asking for forgiveness. Suddenly, the clock is turned back and a relationship is healed and time begins again.
The world is quaking, killing, terrorizing, spilling, destroying, aborting, kidnapping, abusing, corrupting...
We need to be PRAYING, living and breathing in full armour. (Eph. 6).
Sometimes, there truly is nothing we CAN DO about a situation, but aren't you thankful we can pray! I may not even see the answers, the outcome immediately, but I know God honors my prayers. My obedience, my reaction to His grace, is to wait for His timing and to continue to draw near to Him in my pleading, my confessions, my worship, and my desire for wisdom,... my hope as well for those I love. My prayers unite me with others, an intimacy that can only be designed by God for His glory.
I believe God is always orchestrating amazing things, miracles and Hope. He moves forward with His plan and we can be a part of all that in our prayers. He brings people together with similar passions who pray for one another, thus strengthening each other. I've seen it over and over again. I am not a little old person when I pray. I am a powerful, world-changer, a partner with the Lord.
Lord, help me everyday to continue to pray without ceasing, devoted to prayer with an attitude of Thanksgiving. (Col. 2). Prayer is one of the mysteries, one of the privileges You give to us through Your Holy Spirit. I may not be a wealthy celebrity, a third-world missionary, a well-known philanthropist, but I know in Your eyes, I am rich, I am a fully equipped to share the Gospel world-wide, and that You know me by name. Lead me to those places where my hands can work as well, where my physical service also reflects You. I can make a difference by a humble prayer, first for my own devotion, growth and worship and then for others to also draw near to Your heart. Thank you Lord that You have called me to pray. All other things I may do in Your name start here first. To You Lord, I bring my heart and my passions. Amen.