2 Corinthians 1:3-4 – What a wonderful God we have — he is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the source of every mercy, and the one who so wonderfully comforts and strengthens us in our hardships and trials. And why does he do this? So that when others are troubled, needing our sympathy and encouragement, we can pass on to them this same help and comfort God has given us. (TLB)
The first thing that those who visit me remark on is all the sirens! The "Get out of the way, quick!" shrieks of fire engines headed for my neighbourhood's under-repaired housing. The life-or-death screams of ambulances attending victims of heart attacks or car accidents. The even harder "It was too late" rumbling of every turn of the wheels when they return in silence. Police sirens that make me feel safe when they pull over some lawbreaker. The "Stop! Stop! Stop!" of their "give chase" siren wailing through our back streets, as a stolen car careens past, often with a young, desperate driver thinking that he can outrun his future.
I have come to regard all of these sirens as a call to immediate prayer for those suffering and for those helping. Lately, I have had the feeling, when things seem to be going sideways for me, that I am also being prayed for. That's one good reason to hang with folks who know how to pray and who do it without being asked. When it is me doing the praying, it is like using a spiritual crowbar or Jaws of Life® to extricate someone fallen into the pain of this world. I visualize my prayer prying them out, lifting and restoring them to the sunlight of God's presence. Every word of that prayer falls on them, like little drops of hope on a tin roof.
Prayer has an actual effect on reality. I believe that it serves better than if I could be actually present. The phrase, thoughts and prayers, has been much mocked lately. But if it means heartfelt, honest prayers offered up by believers, there is no finer thing that a person can do.
We're not talking fancy words here. "Simply trying to pray is praying," someone said. The more that we do it, the better that we get at it and the more humbling that it becomes to be used by God as a channel of His mercy and grace. The solid fact is that when we direct a prayer of faith like a laser beam at a particular problem, we can immediately accept that the problem is no longer ours. It is in God's hands, and we are free. We may need reminding sometimes of the strength of His power and might, unleashed in the name of Christ.
Galatians 6:2 – Share each other's troubles and problems, and so obey our Lord's command. (TLB)
Prayer: Dear Creator God, we are so grateful for the solid fact of prayer. Even now, we pray that You will heal those drowning in war, pestilence, and destruction everywhere that we look or read. Teach us to see more clearly the suffering all around us, amongst those we will never know as well as those we do. May we hear Your personal call for each of us to pray. In Jesus' name, we do pray. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "O Master Let Me Walk With Thee" (Lyrics)