I have to say I’m appalled. I not sure I believed I would ever see the persecution of Christianity in America get as bad as it’s getting. It all came to a head for me when I was watching the news after the church shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs in Texas. One more atrocity perpetrated by the hands of a sick-minded individual with a gun. By all accounts, the crime was not committed specifically against Christians, but was an act of domestic violence. And because it happened to completely innocent people during their worship of God, all sides of the political spectrum have used it to attack each other.
But this time, it went too far. People across the nation, including President Trump, have called for an outpouring of prayer. The community and those families in that small Texas town need to know that they’re being prayed for. They need the comfort of the nation rallying around them, but most importantly, they need the comfort and reassurance that only comes from God (Philippians 4:6-7). Calling openly for prayer during a tragic loss like this is a very appropriate response.
But that’s not how many people saw it. Immediately following the mention of prayer, the President and Christians nationwide were blasted for their faith in God. People decried prayer as a waste of time, an action that does nothing for those being prayed for. They said that if God actually answered prayer, those people would still be alive. They have effectively attacked one of the roots of the Christian faith, and it was all done under the premise of showing concern for the fallen and their families.
This post is not a call for protests from Christians or for a public spectacle to be made. It’s not being written to bemoan the negativity and harassment Christians are continually facing. God has warned us that those difficulties would come (Psalm 34:19). This post is a call to pray all the more! It’s a rallying cry to stand up for our right to pray by continuing to pray more fervently and more boldly.
When we let our problems and concerns go unnoticed or fail to deal with them, they grow. If you don’t pray your way through the difficulties in life, through the tragedies and losses like this shooting, those events fester and infect like a wound to our body. And God can cure all that infects our lives and make us feel healthy and whole again. He doesn’t always take away the problems. In fact, sometimes these challenges are there to help us grow (James 1:2-4), but he does promise to bring us through.
“Cast your burden on the Lord,
and he will sustain you;
he will never permit
the righteous to be moved.”
So continue to pray! Pray prayers of thanksgiving and for God’s kingdom to come (Matthew 6:10). Pray for those who are sick and for those who are mourning. Pray for God’s wisdom and guidance as you walk through the peaks and valleys of this journey called life. Most importantly, don’t let anyone keep you from conversing with God or tell you that prayer doesn’t work. They couldn’t be further from the truth.