Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Has The Word "Pray" Lost Its Meaning?

The Infant Samuel at Prayer
Joshua Reynolds [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

It should be one of the most powerful words in the English Language. And yet, following the San Bernardino shootings the word “Pray,” was reduced to being the subject of political debate. And while I cannot tell what goes on in the heart of another person, I find myself wondering what happens after someone says, "We pray for..." Do we say we will pray because we plan to do so or is it just a meaningless word used to comfort others or more importantly, ourselves? And when we pray do we do so with the expectation that something will happen?

In prayer we discover the will of the Almighty, bringing ourselves in line with what He desires. There we see what He will do and what He wants us to do about any given situation. As a result prayer is about action powered by God Himself for those who reach out to Him by faith. It is something awesome, powerful and beautiful with a proven track record. But if we are to see any results we must be earnest and fervent when we say we will pray.

Believers cannot allow the word “pray” to become nothing more than a political slogan used in time of tragedy. We must also make sure the word "pray" is more than something we are programmed to say as good church people. Prayer is a powerful tool, a dynamic part of a relationship with God. Let's make sure we do not lose sight of what it means to pray.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Is Closing Borders to Refugees the Christian Way?

By Korstellan (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons
In 250 AD the world faced what we now believe was a Smallpox epidemic. Called the Plague of Cyprian, at its height the pandemic would claim the lives of five thousand Roman citizens per day. Those who could would flee the city in order to avoid death. One group stayed behind, risking their lives to take care of the sick. Their motive in the face of such a lethal situation was simple: love and compassion for their fellow man.

Compelled by love Christians fed those who were too weak to lift their own spoons. They risked their lives in order to comfort those who were suffering. History records their deeds, noting that they did not subject those in their care to a religious test. They took care of everyone, believer and pagan. With faith in God the Christians followed their convictions, loving their neighbors instead of choosing to run.

Today we are being asked to run instead of loving our neighbors. In the face of (a very real) terrorist threat the governors in over half of the United States are saying no to Syrian refugees. But if we are a nation based upon Christian ideals we should be willing to take risks, acting out of the same compassion shown by Christians many times before.

Is the danger real? Yes, just as it was for those who stayed to help during The Plague of Cyprian. But a great nation (and even more so those who put their faith in Christ) should show courage, standing up to lend a helping hand even if it means taking some risks.