Thursday, September 5, 2013

Syria: Prayer to Thought to Action

Last night, I kept an appointment I made with God and prayed for and about Syria.  What it mostly brought are tears.  But God’s Spirit, as well as opening my heart to the pain of so many, also nudged me to actions – small, one person actions, but actions nevertheless.

And so I returned and promptly wrote an e-mail to all of my elected officials (shout out the Presbyterian Church for making that easy) giving voice to my own concerns about our proposed course of action in Syria and asking them to consider alternatives that would, I pray, bring genuine help and change to the lives of so many there.

And I’ve committed (but not yet done – hold me accountable) to send money to UNHCR for the refugees of Syria.

I don’t know if the letters will make any difference, but I know the money will – even drop-in-the-bucket money helps, even if only for a day, even if only for a moment.

That’s the thing about prayer, isn’t it?

Prayer isn’t wish-fulfillment.  My desires for Syria do not become reality merely because I speak them to God’s ear.  God may move in miraculous ways or God may not (at least not in ways I might recognize).  But always, God will move my own heart whenever I enter the divine presence with heart, eyes, ears and hands wide open.

Always, God will remind me of what needs doing in the my-own-small-part of things.  Always, God will give me the desire as well as the ability to do that which God would have me do from where I stand.  And always, God will sit back and wait to see whether I respond to God’s own promptings.

The trick, the only trick, for me, is to keep those stubborn, self-willed eyes, ears and hands open to the God promtings sent my way.

Sometimes they emerge from within, but just as often, they emerge from the voices of other people.

And most of the time, I won’t even recognize God’s voice as God’s – at least not until later.

But saying yes to God is one of the greatest privileges of being alive.  It is the privilege of being a servant of The One Worthy of Being Served.

For that, I am so thankful.

I’m praying for and about Syria again this evening at 6 p.m.  I hope we’ll join our prayers together.  And who knows what God will have to say to us?