I have personal connections to fires raging in Colorado and other western states. My parents have been evacuated from their home and are safe at my brother's house some distance away. My sister is housing a displaced family. The city I consider my hometown is blanketed in heavy smoke and there is daily compulsion to pray. But what should I pray for?
In my gut, I want life to be easy and comfortable with no tragedy or pain or suffering. God, who simply cannot lie, told us we would have trouble in this world. It is messed up because along the way every person makes a choice to serve themselves first and not God. I'm part of that sin equation, like it or not. I don't feel the need to defend God or explain in this blog why we have a messed up world, since it takes little effort to see this is true.
Years ago God taught me some prayer lessons in the years my husband risked his life for the sake of others. I wanted him to come home
safely so my life would be comfortable and free of the pain of losing
him. I wanted my girls to have their daddy to grow up with. One night
while praying with them before they slept, I realized my selfish prayers
were a setup for their tender hearts to be damaged if Ron were to die
on a rescue mission. I knew from Scripture that life isn't comfortable
and easy and that we suffer loss and grief while on this earth. I wanted
my girls to have the freedom to ask God for the longings of their heart
understanding that He is good AND wanted them to understand that if we don't get what we ask for
it isn't because God failed us. So, I changed my prayers. I admitted
what I wanted (for him to come home safely) and I asked that he would
make wise choices as he flew the helicopter and helped others. I
acknowledged God's goodness and asked for His grace no matter what the
So, how DO we pray for people in crisis? Should we pray for rain which would help put out fires, but brings erratic wind and flash floods to areas without vegetation OR for wisdom for those battling the blazes? Should we pray for no houses to burn OR for comfort and peace for those displaced? Should we ask that miracles happen OR that God would make the best of an ugly mess? YES! We need to ask for our hearts' desires because God said we wouldn't have if we didn't ask. We also need to listen to God's quiet voice to learn His good plan in the midst of a mess. When we ask Him to do what He's planning to do we have the privilege of watching it happen and knowing He did it!
I want my family to be safe and have their house back fully intact. I don't want to have my childhood home destroyed by fire. At the same time, I want comfort for my parents as they wait and watch. I want the people who have lost homes to be comforted and know love from people and to know that ultimately any good we receive originates in God. I want them to have their needs met and want to participate in meeting the needs. I want people to experience God's goodness and love in the midst of their tragedy because He does make a difference and DOES work good out awful things.
So, I pray. I hope you are as well.