How do you react when tragedy is heard around the world?
This past Friday, the world was faced with devastating news of the Paris attacks. Several suicide bombers and gunmen hit a string of popular venues including restaurants, bars, a stadium and concert hall – leaving over 100 killed and even more wounded.
The nation is reeling and the rest have been pulling together in solidarity for the country.
We’ve experienced terrorist attacks on our homeland and have continued to witness the world get more dangerous and engulfed in hate and evil. Because we are so exposed, it doesn’t mean we should stop feeling. Desensitization prevents us from acting proactively.
Seeing photos, learning the names and hearing personal stories from survivors and from those who lost loved ones can evoke heartbreak and a feeling of helplessness but there is something you can do.
Turn to prayer.
Whenever something tragic happens, everyone is quick to say “pray for this” but I have a few issues with the way we go about this.
My youngest sister brought up my first point: “Who are they praying to?”
Her question was half rhetorical but she still sort of expected some answer. She understands that many aren’t believers of Christ but she had no idea how they could pray if they believed their prayers aren’t going anywhere.
My issue is that society says it, but doesn’t do it. We have become a generation where we consider raising awareness through a hashtag, a like, or a repost is enough. But it’s not.
The power of prayer is matchless to any act you do in life. It’s an open conversation between you and God. It’s your main-line of communication. You call, He answers. It may not be in the answer you want, but one thing for certain is that Christ always picks up.
He never misses your call. It’s never dropped or ignored. He loves to hear from you because it’s as simple as this: He loves you.
It’s normal to feel a vast array of these feelings when disaster like this strikes. It’s human nature. It’s normal to have questions. And it’s even more normal to react based on these feelings.
However, don’t allow your feelings to lead you to irrational behavior. Violence doesn’t solve a thing, but add on to the circle of hate. Stay vigilant and put your hope in Christ. Your prayers are going somewhere. If you can turn to Him when disaster hits, you can surely stay with Him during the calm.
Okay, maybe you don’t know what to pray. I came up with 3 definites on my own list:
- For Muslims to be protected from the backlash of hate. Yes, we may not share the same religion, we share the same race. Prayer for humanity is integral in our faith.
- For the broken hearts of those affected
- For love.
I came across this perfect article that goes more into detail about how Christians should pray when terrorism strikes. One point I loved was where the author mentions to “Praise God that He is sovereign, that He has ultimate control over all, and that nothing takes Him by surprise (Isaiah 45:5-7). On behalf of yourself and others, ask God for a passion and love for Christ that DRIVES OUT FEAR (1 John 4:18).” What I particularly loved the most was the beautiful prayer that they had and I knew I had to share with you all:
God of faithfulness, we come to You in anguish
after the targeted attacks on our nation.
We are filled with anxieties and questions.
What words of supplication
can we bring before You,
what prayer, what deeds?
God, we need Your grace
to center our minds and settle our hearts.
We need Your hope
to sustain our passion for justice
and our will to be peacemakers.
We need Your wisdom to help us recognize
your presence dwelling within us
and within every being you have made.
We need your courage
to live as children of light, hope and love,
putting away all darkness, fear and hatred.
Take from us all longing for vengeance.
Fill us with compassion for victims of violence
throughout the world.
Give us a love that is not withheld
even from our enemies.
Grant that our leaders may act justly.
Be with us in our prayer.
Help us to truly believe,
not only in Your abiding presence,
but also in the power of prayer
to move mountains.
Pull us from the grasp of violence.
Guide our steps in Your way of peace.
#prayforparis isn’t just a hashtag. It’s not just a temporary movement. It’s an action that should be done fervently. Prayer won’t change what happened, but it can transform our reactions to such hate. It soothes the hearts of the broken, wipes the tears from the weary and lovingly hugs those in despair. Jesus can.
So pray for Paris. Pray for the United States. Pray for this world.