Pray continually. (NIV)
Tonight as I sit here listening to the news…seeing the destruction of Moore, Oklahoma…and hearing the amazing testimonies- I am overwhelmed with so many thoughts.
One gentleman was on a major news outlet telling the reporter that he and his disabled wife didn’t have a storm shelter, so they went into the bathroom of their home and prayed as the tornado completely decimated their town. This man, age 72, said that they prayed to the Lord for protection and he was able to tell his wife with confidence that they would be alright. When they emerged from the bathroom of their home, there was only a small hole in the ceiling of the bathroom, however, the surrounding rooms were gone. When the reporter asked how he felt about his home and possessions being gone his response caused me to actually yell out at the TV…”Yeah! Amen!”. He told the reporter that his life isn’t in all of that stuff; the Lord is his salvation…all he has on this earth was given to him by God so it’s all His anyways. He ended his interview with a strong and confident, “I am fine.”
Another gentleman on a separate news outlet was sharing how his home was directly across from one of the elementary schools that was completely destroyed. His wife had the kids in the storm shelter at their home and they survived. This man boldly proclaimed to this anchorwoman that he is a Christian man and he just wanted to thank the Lord for delivering them from this storm.
Yet another reporter, live on the scene…standing in the rubble…urging the nation to pray. She was telling everyone that “there is always hope if you will just keep praying.”.
In order to keep praying- a person would have had to been praying already.
As I see this outpouring of faith on all of the major news outlets this evening, it’s such a striking contrast to the normal night of news. In the recent past, the news has included stories about the military being willing to court-martial soldiers who share their faith boldly; a story of a Texas cheerleading squad who was told that they weren’t permitted to have scripture on their banners at the football games (and they won that battle in court- praise the Lord!); prayer in school and town meetings is under scrutiny and students are not permitted to pray or thank God in their valedictorian speeches. It just seems as if religious persecution and discrimination are permeating our nation. Ironically, this persecution is being administered in the name of “freedom”. I just don’t understand how an American Soldier could be thrown in jail by his own country for sharing his faith while serving overseas to fight for those very same freedoms. Just today, John Kerry called religious freedom a “birthright”…but I digress. In a moment like this- when a town is destroyed by a tornado, or in a bombing in Boston, or in a school shooting in Connecticut…”prayer…Faith…God…hope…salvation”…these are the words we hear. Sadly, these are the only times that faith is socially permissible. (At least it seems that way when watching the news.) How can they try to restrict our prayer and worship and expect us to get through times like this without God?
What’s the message we hear through the media? It seems to be “call on God when we have nowhere else to turn, otherwise keep Him and your faith to yourself”. No. PRAY! Call on God daily…boldly. Faith in the Lord and evidence of his grace and mercy are evident every day. During incredible disasters such as this tornado in Oklahoma- the tragedy is overwhelming and yet, the miracles are so remarkable. A relationship with the Lord on a daily basis allows us to stand firm, help others, hope, and draw from His strength daily as well as in times of trouble.
I pray today that we will all pray without ceasing. Not just in the wake of tragedy. Not only when it’s socially acceptable; but, in good times and bad; in times of plenty and times of need.
The Lord is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.