Monday, July 25, 2005

When all you can do is pray...

The phone call woke me this morning. The First United Methodist Church of Pittsburg, where my older brother is the pastor, was on fire. More specifically, the youth building, a converted feed store, caught fire in the early hours of the morning. The fire was threatening several nearby buildings. His wife called to let me know, and invite me to pray.

I did all I knew how to do. I prayed. After I woke up some more, I shared the news with my email list of church folk, inviting them to pray too.

The thought crossed my mind to drive to Pittsburg and offer to help. Help with what I did not know, but the idea seemed fruitful for a minute. I think we are wired that way; when a loved one has a need we want to do something. I actually found myself thinking, “I guess all I can do is pray.”

What kind of thought is that? Prayer is communication with the Creator of all that is, the God who loves us and desires our best for us even more than we do. How can prayer be a last act of desperation when nothing else can be done.

Someone told me about a year ago that “if all you can do is pray, prayer is enough; if you do everything but don’t pray, it is never enough.”

Many times prayer is not all we can do. Many times in prayer God will nudge
us into action. When we pray we must pay attention to what God might be calling us to do.

I called my brother around noon. The fire had been confined to the youth building; other buildings were spared and no one was hurt. I did all I could, as did many of you who joined us in prayer.

When all you can do is pray, pray.

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