Praying from Events

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Just because sin lies at the root of everything bad doesn’t mean we should just sit by, as if God sits in heaven dispassionately, when disasters happen.

Blow the trumpet in Zion, declare a holy fast, call a sacred assembly. Gather the people, consecrate the assembly…Let the priests, who minister before the Lord, weep between the temple porch and the altar. Let them say, "Spare your people, O Lord." (Joel 2:15-17)

Sadly, you don’t have to look too far in the world to find disasters. Some are "natural disasters" – though the Bible says that they aren’t "natural" at all, for they are not how God designed this world to be. Others are more obviously "human disasters," like when terrorists wreak their bloody work or when faulty parts or bad workmanship lead to a disastrous crash. But at the heart of every disaster – natural or humanlies the same old thing: sin. It is sin that causes people to make wrong choices and to cut corners; and it is sin that has worked its way into the fabric of creation that means it is now "subjected to frustration" (Romans 8:20).

But just because sin lies at the root of everything doesn’t mean we should just sit by, holding our hands up and saying, "But what can we do about it?" Do we honestly think that God sits in heaven dispassionately when such disasters happen? That His heart doesn’t ache for the suffering that He sees? We, as His people, can catch hold of His heart at such times and call out to Him for His protection when disaster approaches or His help when disaster has struck.

That’s what the prophet Joel did, as in our opening verses. Joel lived at a time when Israel had been devastated by locusts and drought. But confronted with this disaster, he didn’t just sit back and think, "Well, that’s what they deserve for not obeying God." Rather, he prayed and called others to prayer, challenging them to see what God might be saying through all of this (a notion no more popular in his day than in ours!).

Thanks to TV, newspapers and the internet, we are more informed of world events than any previous generation, and so have less excuse for not praying. So whenever you hear of some disaster, impending or actual, don’t just feel sorry; pray about it right there and then. Make it part of your routine. You could even start today!

"I look for your deliverance, O LORD." (Genesis 49:18)

Copyright © 2017 Martin Manser and Mike Beaumont

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