I think we can all agree – we live in overwhelming times. The relentless pursuit of the Corona virus in all of its variations, the ongoing war in Ukraine, climate change and reports of evaporating lakes, wildfires, and warming oceans. There is seemingly endless division and conflict amongst our political leaders that trickles down to infect local and state governments. Prices are up. Shortages are growing. Rents are climbing. Affordable housing is difficult to find. Racist violence is rampant.
Add to that your own personal worries about loved ones, employment, finances, and health. It is no wonder that rates of anxiety and depression are growing in our country.
What to do?
How should we respond?
What’s the best course of action?
Let us pray.
I can almost see you rolling your eyes. Pray?!? What good will that do? Why should I waste my time muttering words to God? If God is all-knowing, God doesn’t need my reminders about today’s dismal state of affairs. If God is all-caring, God shouldn’t require me to convince him to tend to the sick and the dying. If God is all-powerful, God won’t be helped by my encouragement and entreaties.
So much of prayer is not for God’s benefit, but for our own. It is not to convince a grudging, reluctant God to act. Prayer brings our parched spirits to the ever flowing streams of God’s love and presence. We can find renewal there. We can find hope.
Here’s the invitation – let us pray. We have started gathering on Fridays at noon for prayer. You are invited to join us – in person in our sanctuary or in spirit wherever you happen to be. You can also send me prayer requests.
This brief service reminds us of what is true – we are not alone as we face the challenges of this world.
Prayer is an invitation to listen to God’s life-giving words. If we fill our ears solely with the latest news reports and urgent (and often depressing) text/social media messages, our minds and hearts will be filled with despair. Taking time to pray offers moments of quiet and peace in the presence of love. It is not about denying or running away from the truly awful state of affairs. Instead, prayer feeds our spirits so we can be strengthened to act.
When I take time to listen, I hear assurances like these:
- God cares deeply for the stranger, supports the widowed and orphaned, and ruins the schemes of the wicked. (Psalm 146)
- You know me, God. You know me. You see me working, you see me resting.
You know what I think about; you know what I do.
You are everywhere – near and far, and all around me. (Psalm 139)
- Turn from evil, love what is good, and you will be at peace;
God is a lover of justice who will never abandon the faithful. (Psalm 37)
We are called to respond to the needs of the world. Let us begin with prayer.