Terrorist attacks in France, an earthquake off the coast of Japan, suicide bombings in Lebanon, and on and on it goes. It’s been a difficult week for many throughout the world. This series of unfortunate events has sparked a movement of prayers and broken hearts for the world around us. But I have to ask myself, is that really enough?
As you thumb through social media, you see countless profile pictures temporarily updated with the French national flag as a filter. As you continue to scroll, you see statuses or quotes urging people to pray for France as well as the rest of the world in general. And I find it fascinating that the Lord can use such horrible circumstances to show our need for Him. I believe a national prayer movement will have such a positive implication that we cannot begin to imagine the effect. But at the same time, I wonder if many Christians, including myself, use prayer (or a temporary Facebook filter) as an escape; as the easy way out. “I’ve done my part.”
I mean, if we’re honest, how many of us that post the trending hashtag #PrayForParis, actually take a few minutes to literally pray to the God of the universe on their behalf? Or how many of us who change our profile pictures, actually plan on doing anything more to help? Or is this just more of a social trend, that we need to keep up with in order to prove how well-informed and humanitarian we are?
We are most certainly called to fight the enemy and care for others with prayer. That I am not arguing. As Paul writes, “Devote yourselves to prayer..” –Colossians 4:2a
But I believe we are also called to do more. We are called to be a light to this world. “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” –Matthew 5:14-16
We are called to be the hands and feet of Christ. We are called to actually do something. “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” –James 1:22
I’m obviously not saying prayers or social media posts are bad. But what are your motives for doing so? Do you pray for France so that you can convince yourself that you’ve done the right thing? So you can check the box? Are you just worried about your image on social media? Or do you pray with a broken heart and a desire to see the Lord move in those areas of hurt?
Or what about what James 2:16 says? “If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?”
Have you questioned if you can do more? Have you asked the Lord if you should give time, money, or other resources to help those in hurt? I know my initial reaction is that is likely the same as yours – I don’t have enough time. I don’t have enough money to spare. And even if I did, how would I be of any help? My reaction is to make excuses, to find a way to justify throwing up a prayer and calling it good enough. I have done my part. Someone else, in a better position, I’m sure can be of more help.
Maybe prayer is all that the Lord is calling you to do in this season. And hear me, I see no problem with that. However, the motives behind your prayer speak volumes of your heart. This is not just an issue of current events but of our daily life. I beg us all to ask ourselves if we are following the Lord’s agenda for us, or our own.
Photo Cred: Joe deSousa