Tuesday, April 23, 2013

You Can't Pray A Lie

Recently, my friend Karen Zacharias asked her readers what adventures of goodness we had been on lately?  Avdenture of goodness...?

Well, some may not see it so; but it came during the prayer time at Operation Nightwatch worship on Sunday. We, of course, had the people of Boston, the runners and families, the community of West, Texas on our list. Our soldiers and their families. Then, someone led by the Spirit of God piped up and said we should pray for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his family. We did.

After catching our spiritual breath over the shock of that, the still, small voice of grace finally leads us to ask, "Why would we not?" Indeed. A few seconds later, someone else asked that we pray for the President and his family and advisors. Indeed, why would we not? And just a thought... with the approval of Congress at an all time low, why would we not be praying for them? Instead of complaining.

It was Mark Twain who perhaps gave the advice on prayer that to me ranks only a short step below the Lord's Prayer itself. It's actually a chapter title from Huckleberry Finn: You Can't Pray a Lie. Praying for wounded, grieving people comes naturally. Praying for those who cause such things is hard. Because it can't be a lie. But the gospel we had just shared from John 10 is about the voice of the Shepherd who calls together a disparate bunch of sheep who would otherwise never hang together. Whose voice do we hear? Whose voice did the Tsarnaev brothers hear? What voice could they no longer hear? Who are our shepherds?

Good prayer doesn't come easily. It comes hard. I'm thankful for the homeless voice who led us to that hard spot of necessary prayer. An adventure of goodness, you might say. No lie.

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