By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
This was the bold proclamation a newspaper made in response to a mass shooting in California. Included in this article were quotes from several politicians and public figures encouraging prayers for the victims. The premise of the article: politicians have the ability to end gun violence and instead are speaking platitudes, asking people to pray for the victims.
Isaiah 26:4 (ESV): Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.
Prayer is the most powerful tool in our arsenal and with good reason; we do not have much of an ability to alter and/or control life. Consider a hurricane that is going to reach our shore in a week. We can prepare for the hurricane by boarding windows, buying nonperishables, water, and other supplies; but we cannot ensure the hurricane won’t kill us. Our lawmakers can create mandatory evacuation laws, but they cannot force us to leave our home; nor can they guarantee we won’t die in a car accident during the evacuation. God is the only consistent thing in this life and He wants us to lean on him.
Proverbs 3:5 (NKJV): Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.
We frequently find an excessive belief in man to solve our problems will lead to disappointment, heart ache, and suffering. You may recall the story of Bernie Madoff. He was a financier and stock broker who had 4,800 clients investing with his firm. Despite the investigations and red flags, his clients continued to trust in him because of the results he was promising. In 2009, Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison with $170B in restitution for stealing from his clients in an elaborate Ponzi scheme. Many were paid back pennies on the dollar and lost their retirement and entire life savings.
Jeremiah 17:5-6 (NIV): This is what the Lord says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord. That person will be like a bush in the wastelands; they will not see prosperity when it comes. They will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives.
From a practical standpoint; if everyone prayed before acting, the extra time spent gathering thoughts would be beneficial to the outcome. From a spiritual standpoint, praying for the victims to be healed and their families to be comforted should be encouraging to all. In the end, it is always important to remember that prayer and other acts of faith will lead us to express our faith further. Similar to Noah’s faith motivating him to build the ark; our prayer for the victims may move us to visit them in the hospital or send a card to their family. It may even promote advocacy to where we work with lawmakers to create necessary change in our society. Prayer should be the first and last thing we do, not because we don’t want to help in other ways, but because we want to make sure the right change takes place.