Over the years, I have gotten to the place where I don’t blog in a reactionary way as I once did. But the school shooting in Florida last week has gotten me thinking.
Ok, that’s not exactly right. The Parkland High school shooting has gotten me praying and thinking – trying to find something to do besides praying and thinking. yes, I have been praying and thinking about what do to beyond praying and thinking.
And then, wouldn’t you know it, I hear a cell phone notification tone during Young Disciples Time at our 8:30 am worship service. It wasn’t too loud; actually, not really loud enough to be distracting.
But loud enough to get me thinking.
You see, I was already determined to focus the pastoral prayer that morning on inviting God to challenge us, God’s people, followers of Jesus, to do something as a response to the incredible rise of school shootings.
We need to pray, this is beyond question. But it seems that at times like this – especially as there are SO MANY times like this! – to say we should pray can become a cop out.
“Well, I’ve prayed, I don’t know what else I can do!” we might be tempted to say.
And then the notification tone. Which, of course, made me check my phone. It wasn’t on silent! I quickly, simply, silently, switched it to silent.
I did not pray and ask God to silence my phone.
That would have been missing the point entirely of God having created us in God’s own image and calling us into partnership for stewarding creation.
I can, of course, pray and ask God to help me remember to silence my phone. But it makes little sense to leave such a thing to making a request of God when there is something I can do.
So: I don’t know exactly what we are going to do as Americans about the tragedy of school shootings, but I know prayer can’t be all we do.
We must at least remember, as we pray, that prayer is communication between us and God.
We talk, God listens.
God talks, we listen.
Not always necessarily in this order. ( we who recognize prevenient grace would likely have to admit that some of the times we pray we pray in response to the Holy Spirit’s urging.)
When we dare pray about school shootings, I feel pretty confident God is going to answer us.
Are we ready to hear what God has to say? I don’t know for sure. But I do know that if by “praying” I mean “tell God how bothered you are about ______ and leave it up to God to fix it,” I’ve not actually come to grips with what prayer is.