As the dog days of Summer are passing by, what have you been praying about and for? Do you pray for someone who is sick, that they will receive healing? Do you pray for financial resources for yourself or others who are needy? Do you pray for strained relationships, that they will be reconciled? Do you pray for the needy, the homeless, the lonely, the imprisoned, the cast aside? Do you pray for the environment and an end to the damage we are doing to it?
Shane Claiborne has given us a few ideas on becoming the answer to our prayers…
- “Hang out with folks who will inherit the earth. (For details, see the Sermon on the Mount.)
- Set up a retreat center with pastoral care and spiritual guidance — free of charge — for persons who have little money.
- Look through your clothes. Learn about one of the countries where they are manufactured. Do some research to discover the working conditions of the people who made them, and commit to doing one thing to improve the lives of people who live in that country.
- Look for everything you have two of, and give one away.
- Dig up a bucket of soil and look through it to see the elements and organisms that make our daily meals possible.”
Does that sound a little extreme? Did you read through that list of ideas thinking, “yeah, right,” with a smirk on your face? Did you hear God’s call to you as you read through those possibilities?
Prayer is not just mumbled words and wishes. Prayer is the beginnings of an action plan for those who are committed to following Jesus. Prayer puts into words those things we deeply long for. The problem with much of the prayers that are offered, they just simply lie there in their utterance. Many times we utter prayers thinking we have done our part, the rest is up to God. Prayer is a two way street though, its not meant to be a one sided conversation. When we have formulated our most well thought out and well intentioned prayers, God is responding to us, “Now, go and do as you have prayed about.” Yes, I pray for world peace. What am I doing to further peace where I find myself? Yes, I pray for love to reign supreme in every situation. Have I brought and espoused love in every situation I find myself in? Yes, I pray for those who are suffering. As I encounter suffering, do I do anything to alleviate it? Yes, I pray for those who are chronically left without the necessities of life. Do I share from the abundance in my own life with those in need?
Maybe Shane is so far off base with his suggestions for us to become the answer to the prayers we lift to God. If we pray earnestly enough, and work to accomplish what we pray about, who knows, maybe one person will actually experience the kingdom of God coming near to them.
Your fellow traveler on the Way,