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“22 killed and 120 injured” – Evil and Prayer

May 27, 2017

“22 killed and 120 injured”, that’s what I read online earlier today. Those words are terrible enough, but then I remembered that it was young women and girls that had been targeted. I wanted to weep but no tears came. Then I heard that there are young people in this town that have friends who have been injured in Manchester, or who were there. It could so easily have been one of our own, and that made me go cold inside.

God’s people tolled the church bell in Harleston and we, together with lots of people from the town, joined the country in a minute’s silence. Money has gone into buckets to help the families of those affected. But none of it seems enough. When faced with such a stark reminder of the evil in this world, more is needed.

I turned to the internet, the source of so much information, and I found myself staring at the words, “at least 28 people, including children, have been killed and 25 wounded in a gun attack on a bus carrying Coptic Christians in the al-Idwah district outside Minya, south of Cairo.” More pain, loss and suffering; more evil.

Things seem so out of control, and when that happens I turn to the one who can bring peace and order back again. I have stopped to pray, to listen to God and to wait for what the Spirit says. This may sound like a cop out, but to me it is the most practical thing to do. In the face of such horror, what better thing can I do that to turn to the one who is all peace? I need to be reminded of the true values of this world before I react. I need the Father’s love to be my foundation. If I don’t wait on God, I know from experience that I will go wrong; that I follow evil with evil.

Looking to the Bible, I read that when Jesus left the first disciples they were unsure and afraid. Then we’re told that, “they went upstairs to the room where they had been staying. The apostles often met together and prayed with a single purpose in mind. The women and Mary the mother of Jesus would meet with them, and so would his brothers.” (Acts 1.13-14) They prayed and they waited together.

They prayed and waited for God to guide them, then ten days later the Spirit came to them and 3,000 people joined them in just one day. I have the Spirit of God in me, so I wait now for the Spirit to guide me, and all of Christ’s people, in the right way to speak and act.

Now I hear a whisper in the back of my mind, “Why turn to the God who let this happen?” The simple answer, “I don’t!”

I turn to the God who repeatedly warns us of the effects of turning away from him. I turn to the God who warns of the dangers of human evil, like that in Manchester. I turn to the God who gives all people the freedom to even ask that question. I turn to the God leads me and anyone who comes to him away from evil.

I wait on God because from long experience I know that I can so easily do and say evil things, things that hurt, and knock down. I desperately don’t want there to be even the slightest likeness between what I think and do, and what that terrorist thought and did. So I turn to turn to Jesus who promises to fill me with his love. I know I need it! I wait and actively listen for the Spirit’s voice guiding me.

I pray many prayers, mostly chatty, but among them I pray the Lord’s Prayer. I see evil and I pray, “Thy Kingdom Come”. I pray “Thy Kingdom Come” to this country. I pray for “Thy Kingdom (to) Come” into the hearts of all God’s people, so that we can live the way of love, and show all people that it works. I pray for “Thy Kingdom (to) Come” into the lives of those who don’t yet know God so that they could share the love and joy and peace that I know to be the marks of “Thy Kingdom”. As the election approaches I pray for “Thy Kingdom (to) Come” and look for the party and leader that will best lead this country away from violent evil towards greater peace, love, and reconciliation.

When Jesus left those first disciples he promised to return. So I pray, “Thy Kingdom Come” fully and everywhere. I pray, “Come Lord Jesus,” come back and sort out this messed-up world.

I pray and wait. I wait and pray, then I act in the Spirit; I try to do and say loving things, things that build up and encourage.

Then I pray again, “Thy Kingdom Come.”

Amen.

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