Written by Holly Madden, LeadHer Local Director
Like many of you, over the last two weeks I have prayed over and processed the events surrounding our Nation. As I have struggled with my own questions, I have also served as a sounding board for LeadHer members, friends, and family members all processing their own questions. My only two certainties being that I don’t have the right answers, but I know that God does. With so many conversations that I have had over the last two weeks, the bulk of emotions processed by both myself and others can be summed up in the simple statement below:
Something catastrophic happened in the world again. A mass casualty terrorist attack, an act of violence against race, a little girl was raped, or a natural disaster claimed more lives than it spared. Everyday the news is full of graphic stories and it makes me wonder, what do I do? As a Christian, you tell me to pray. But lately it feels like my prayers for peace, protection, and justice continue to go unanswered. So why bother?
Prayer. There are many days our prayers feel ineffective when measured against the riots and the consistent slew of social media opinions. The current events around the deaths of #AltonSterling, #PhilandoCastille, the Dallas police officers, and others over the last couple weeks have broken my heart over and over again. Why is it that on July 4th we celebrated America, a country that is free but we are a people that are not? As I have been praying for something, anything the last few weeks, I feel like God spoke to my heart, pray for chains to be broken. Pray for freedom.
This world needs to experience freedom.
- Freedom from Racism.
- Freedom from Senseless Violence.
- Freedom from Gender Inequality.
- Freedom from the horrific cycle of Poverty.
- Freedom from Addiction.
- Freedom from the Lie that Education is reserved for the fortunate.
- Freedom from the focus on being Skinny.
- Freedom from Religious Persecution.
- Freedom from Terrorism.
- Freedom from the Stigma surrounding Mental Health.
- Freedom from the factors that lead to Domestic Abuse.
- Freedom from Brokenness that is sometimes experienced in the Justice System.
The list goes on and on.
I know what it feels like to pray and to feel helpless when it comes to crisis. I know what it feels like feel so much heartbreak over the circumstances that prayer feels like a band aid rather than a cure. I know what it feels like to extend prayer to a hurting soul only to have it mocked at as if prayer is an excuse not to act. It is in moments of violence, war, and devastation that we are reminded how small our voices are, but it is in these moments that we have an opportunity to activate the voice that is bigger than all the rest. Our prayers move God to action. Our prayers are powerful, but only if we truly believe in the power of our God.
Matthew 9 is a chapter that I have camped in during seasons when my prayers feel more like voicemails than active conversations. I know that when God leads us to the wilderness or asks us to wait that it is part of His perfect design. Matthew 9 is only 38 verses long but it recounts the stories of 6 incredible stories of healing including the healing of the woman who was bleeding for 12 years, bringing back to life a little girl who had died, and making blind men see and a mute man talk. This chapter also recounts the calling of Matthew- the tax collector. In these 38 verses, God gives life and redemption to the hurting and the broken, while also transforming the life of a man known for his sins and deception, a man who was publicly hated by all who knew Him.
God answered prayers, transformed lives, and performed miracles.
I choose to believe in the God who is still answering prayers, transforming lives, and performing miracles. I choose to believe in the God who hears our small voices amidst the noise of hate and chaos and activates us to bring about change. I choose to believe in the God who can break chains and bring freedom.
So what do you do in times of crisis, we pray. We pray because through prayer, God directs our actions and our words. Through prayer we surrender our powerlessness for his power
I get it. I’ve been you. You’re not alone and God is big enough to handle your most honest questions. But don’t stop praying. Your prayers will move God to bring about change in this world.