(A followup on a post from last week...)
Seen recently on a sign outside a church in a nearby town…
Prayer is the bridge between panic and peace
You have to love politicians, right? Well….do you?
Actually as Christians we’re supposed to love everyone. “Love your neighbor as yourself” and “Love your enemies,” we’re told. But yes, sometimes it’s tough, even with those political animals.
One of the many controversies coming out of Washington this year is the definition of infrastructure.
It’s a big word and a big issue, one that everyone SHOULD agree on – but that’s rarely how politics works.
Infrastructure is all about connections. In our modern times it could be about the electrical grid that connects our homes and businesses, providing power for our lights and appliances, for summer air conditioning and winter heating to keep us comfortable.
And as we’ve seen during this insane pandemic in the past 15 months it could also be about internet broadband service to all areas of our country, allowing anyone to be hooked up to the information superhighway no matter where you are. That’s important for learning, for business, for information or for entertainment for all.
It’s also about getting from Point A to Point B. That’s roads, bridges and transportation systems.
The next time you go out for a drive, take a close look at the infrastructure. Depending on where you are you may see crumbling bridges and overpasses, far too many potholes, and unsafe medians and roadsides. Then think about what those potholes could do to your vehicle, or how trucks carrying many items we want and need might cross that bridge.
We need some fresh infrastructure spending to keep all of those connections healthy and running.
So what’s our religious infrastructure?
We need those healthy connections in our life of faith as well. Have you taken a look at your own infrastructure lately?
After the challenging year we’ve just been through, with in-person church services closed for so many months and many people not taking advantage of online offerings, perhaps that infrastructure is in sad shape and need of repair.
And it all starts with prayer, that bridge mentioned above.
A website based in Asia has an interesting view…
PRAYER constitutes the kernel of human existential reality. The act of prayer links every human being with God. The core of the human self overcomes its immense loneliness in this universe by engaging in the act of prayer. Every word uttered during this act liberates us from fear and pain. – from the Dawn website
Especially interesting is that this is from a Muslim website. Of course prayer isn’t just a Christian thing – no matter the religion, it’s a crucial part of a life of faith.
What does the Bible say about prayer?
But I pray to you, Lord, in the time of your favor;
in your great love, O God, answer me with your sure salvation. – Psalm 69:13 NIV
You will pray to him, and he will hear you, and you will fulfill your vows. – Job 22:27 NIV
Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary. – Daniel 9:17 NIV
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. – Mark 11:24 NIV
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. – Romans 12:12 NIV
During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. – Hebrews 5:7 NIV
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. – James 5:16 NIV
And we’ll stop there because we could fill pages with quotes and advice from the Good Book about prayer. It’s an integral part of who we are as Christians.
Let’s go back to the initial quote from that church sign – the bridge between panic and peace. And think back to March and April of last year.
There wasn’t panic in the streets, but there was a quiet panic in the populace. We had never had a mass lockdown before. No one was quite sure what to do – or not do. People wondered about things like “can I go get groceries?” or “when can I visit my family members again?”
Remember the first time you donned a mask for safety before going to some public place? It felt strange, didn’t it? Not right, concerning. Most people probably thought “am I really safe now?” Remember for a while when the advice from some “experts” was to wear TWO masks, one over the other? How much MORE do we have to do?
Panic isn’t just screaming in fear. It’s also that slow buildup inside your brain and your chest when you feel the world is slowly overwhelming you.
You could try taking pills or drugs to calm yourself but they often have side effects you didn’t bargain for. Reaching for the bottle has been done forever – more nasty side effects.
Instead reach for the Lord. Every day in every way, reach out to Him in prayer. Have a quiet conversation with God, not for a few seconds but for a few minutes. Pour out your feelings, make your requests. A regular talk with God might be the best antidote for panic available – and the only side effect is a feeling of peace.
A simple primer on prayer – start with thanks to the Almighty for all the blessings He has bestowed on you. Remind yourself of who is really in charge – and it isn’t you. Put the focus on God first. Then follow with your conversation and let it be a conversation – you may feel some response from God as you go over your problems or requests or thanks. And yes, be sure to offer a Thank You at the end.
No, you may not have your prayers “answered” directly. God isn’t the eternal concierge looking to fulfill every whim. Remember that He set the universe in motion, not you. He has all the correct answers, just maybe not the ones you’re looking for.
From the hymn sung recently at church…
When peace like a river attendeth my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well with my soul
THAT is peace. Be sure to pray today – and every day. Infrastructure we all need.
From George Churchgoer