I am offering up my old Facebook post from December 15, 2012, because even though this was about the Sandy Hook Massacre, you could change the name … Aleppo Massacre … and it is just as relevant today.
One of my favorite scenes from the animated movie Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is a flashback to Bruce Wayne kneeling at his parents’ grave telling them that his war on crime is over because he has fallen in love.
The line from the movie that really sticks out is the way the character words the explanation … “It just doesn’t hurt anymore.”
For me, it is easy to pray when I am hurt.
When I know the people involved in a situation, my pain rises to the surface and it is easy to intercede. By the same token, I have a hard time praying for those I do not know for the same reason … there is no pain fueling the fire.
Today, as I read the news about the school shooting in Connecticut, I went through feelings of sorrow and anger. As we prepare to send Jeremiah to kindergarten next year and were just discussing our school choices yesterday, my mind naturally flashed to a room full of Jeremiah’s facing down an older gunman. It is a place that my mind is unwilling to go because of the emotions that would surface.
But, what if I were childless?
Not in the educational field?
Knowing who I am on the inside, I would be just like my students are about 9/11 … “it did not happen to anyone I know … why should I care, it does not affect me.”
I could go on and on about how media saturation of the event leads to apathy after a while, but that is not my intention.
Instead, after the prayer requests I have received this past week, I have found an error or weakness in my own prayer life that has led to an ongoing apathy or spiritual impotence in my prayer closet.
How can I effectively pray for others if there is no burden to pray?
Is the burden something that I can manufacture through stirring up my emotions with details of the person who is the subject of the request? If so, when “it just doesn’t hurt anymore,” the temptation to quit praying will be there as well.
Does “waiting on the Lord” mean waiting on Him, through the power of His Holy Spirit, to provide the burden and the unction to pray effectively? I think it does.
“He is despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.” Isaiah 53:3
This messianic passage points to Yeshua (Jesus) as a Man who knew exactly what grief was … He KNEW it.
It shames me to think how many times I don’t want to know it … how many times I let the excuse of not having the words to express my feelings become my excuse for not acting, comforting, and loving those who need it most … how many times I have allowed the “busy-ness” of my life to become the salve for my conscience when it convicts me that I am “not in the game” and that I “could have done more.”
So, I guess my prayer for that school community of teachers, leaders, parents and students in Connecticut is quite different from the ones I have read so far.
Lord, let this circumstance bring unity to all those who are involved. Let this inhuman act bring out the best of humanity in all key players involved. Let love and mutual respect become inseparable parts of the curriculum where everyone is trusted and accepted for the soul that they are, not necessarily for their choices or their backgrounds. But, Lord, most importantly, let them be surrounded by Christians who will love them, pray for them, encourage them, and support them long after the “media focused” hurt is gone. Father, please sustain the “sustainers” as they work to put the pieces back together … let Your love be supreme in all of this situation, inside and out … it does not matter whether You were “allowed in the school or not” … You are GOD and there is no other like You. Have Your way … rise up and glorify Yourself among the people and make a Name for Yourself in that community like You never have before. What these hurting people need more than a Christian like me, is a God like You. In Jesus’ Name I pray, amen.