East Trent Churches
I was sitting in the Eurostar waiting room, anticipating a train to take me straight from Paris to St Pancras when I read about the exploded bucket in a shopping bag at Parson’s Green underground station. I also found out that while I was getting out of bed that morning, there’d been an attempted knife attack on French soldiers on a Paris street.
So there I was, sat in a crowded, security checked room, between two potential danger spots, not wanting to talk about what was happening and wondering if the other waiting passengers were doing the same as me as they gazed at their phones.
It was through social media that I discovered the unfolding story and though I knew there probably weren’t many actual facts, I couldn’t stop reading.
There was a volatile mixture of praise for the emergency services, offers of cups of tea from addresses close to Parson’s Green and angry calls for something finally to be done.
There were also some demands to stop praying, which, not surprisingly, caught my attention. Behind these demands were two things: We need action not prayer and all the prayers that have been prayed in response to all the acts of terror have not worked.
It struck me that this wasn’t talking about Christian Prayer as I understand it.
You see, I don’t think we have to choose between doing something and praying, indeed prayer often leads to action and Jesus himself was both a man of prayer and of action.
Saying that prayer hasn’t worked because we haven’t got what we wanted straight away sounds like treating God as if he’s a miracle dispensing vending machine. We put in the right prayer, press the button to select the answer we want and out falls instant love, peace, happiness and plenty throughout the world.
Life just isn’t like that is it? Prayer isn’t like that either. I believe God calls us to work with him and share his life and prayer opens the way to do that, so I do believe we should be praying.
When we pray, we might become part of the answer, so it’s likely that we’ll get more involved with others and life might get more challenging, not less.
Please don’t be put off praying for others, caring for them and taking every opportunity for acts of kindness. If you want space or to pray with others, there are plenty of opportunities in our churches, please get in touch to find out more.
God bless you all