Everyone is saying “pray” these days. People who have been praying all along say pray. People who have never prayed before in their lives say pray. We’re all saying pray for the world. Pray for people in France. Pray for people in Sudan. Pray for people in Dallas, Orlando, Minnesota, now Baton Rouge… the list goes on and on.
It’s a good thing, don’t get me wrong off the bat. We need to pray. And there’s no formula to it. There’s no rules. We need to talk to God. We need to lament and cry out. We need to express the depths of our hearts, our hurts, our fears, our anger. We should be praying and we should be asking for help. But I can’t help but wonder what that help is. I can’t help but wonder if we think our prayers aren’t working or that God is saying no because we’re not asking for the right things.
My 2 year old will come to me and say “help please.” I sometimes know what exactly she’s asking for but I tell her to use her words and not just point frantically. But there are times she has no idea what she wants either and we have to try a few different things before we settle on something.
We know where help comes from. We know God is our help and refuge. But I wonder if we would recognize that refuge if we came across it? I wonder if we knew what form that help would take? We pray for things like peace, but what is that? What would it really mean for the world to be at peace? What would that look like for us? And at what cost?
There are people on all sides of the argument praying. I pray. And I know people who vehemently disagree with me, my politics, my ideologies, my theology, who are also praying. To the same God. To the same ends, to His glory and that He will be made known throughout the earth. We would agree on that much but the way we get there? Well, that’s where the debate lies.
So what do I do with that? I pray. I pray for myself, in a self-centered way, that God will reveal my heart to me and show me my errors. I pray that He will make Himself known to me, that I will know Him more and more and recognize His work in the world around me and IN me.
I pray that He will be glorified no matter what it costs, that I won’t long for an easy, comfortable life now, that I won’t trade in Gospel truth for an earthly peace built on vague toleration and blind eyes.
I pray that the Church will rise. I pray that she will see herself as the glorious, beautiful hands and feet of Christ himself, doing his work on earth, laboring and toiling, not in vain, but to make all things new in some way.
I pray that I will see with His eyes, that my heart will change to not be discouraged or afraid, but to be bold with confidence that my Hero will still save us, that He has saved us and will come again for us.
I pray that my heart will change from weary to light, that I can face even the darkest of times with the strength of heaven.
I pray that I will repent quickly of my prejudices, my stubborness, my arrogance, that I will readily admit my faulty thinking and sinful attitudes towards others not like me or those who challenge my way of life.
I pray that God will make my heart pleasant to Him. That is peace. To be in His presence and not crushed. To be held by His grace and not turned away. To be welcomed and loved fully, purely, because of what has been done for me through the blood of the perfect Lamb who came not with a sword, but to give his life as a ransom for many so that I will know this peace.
I pray every person on this earth will know that peace. It’s the only peace there is. Any other peace is a lesser peace, a mere glimpse of what peace can be and should be and will be for all eternity. We don’t want a small peace. We want the peace that starts from our souls, souls reconciled and in unity with the Creator who will wipe away every tear and right every wrong. He will make all things new and make all sad things untrue. Pray for that peace. It begins now… in you.