Outraged about Prayer

I have read several articles and blogs by people who are outraged about prayers for Oklahoma tornado victims and are calling for the people who pray to actually do something. They don’t seem to realize that many of the people who volunteer or send donations and the organizations that show up to help are indeed Christian or representatives of other religious groups. People who pray often move to act after the prayer. Christians, in fact, affirm that “faith without works is dead” (James 2:17). James castigated those who told the poor to be “warm and well-fed,” but offered them no clothing or food. In the aftermath of a disaster, people contribute in various ways. First responders rush to the scene. Crisis management teams arrive behind them. Aid organizations and volunteers follow. People who cannot help physically send donations, or if they are government leaders, dedicate funding for disaster recovery. Everyone may choose to pray. Critics that I mentioned earlier especially criticized entertainers and politicians who had tweeted that they were praying for Oklahoma. Prayer enlists the aid of the divine. It also focuses the thoughts of the one who offers the prayer. Prayer calms the person who prays. When people learn that others pray for them, they often feel relief as well. On the other hand, none of us controls how God answers prayer. In fact, if biblical passages like Psalms 10 and 13 are any indication, we may protest what we think God is doing. On other occasions, when rescue arrives when it seemed there was no hope, we sink to our knees in gratitude. No one can prevent another from praying silently, frustrating though that may be to some people. And as long as there are disasters, people will pray. They pray, not because they arrogantly presume that God will do their bidding, but because they yearn for help to accomplish what seems impossible. If we say that we pray, we should act with integrity. We should not say that we are praying when we do not pray. No one has to pray in our country, but many of us choose to do so, because we believe that the Creator of the universe still controls what happens. The anti-prayer critics do have a right to express their opinions in the United States, but those whom they criticize have a right to pray.

#disaster-relief, #integrity, #oklahoma-tornado, #prayer