By today, we are all aware of the horrific terrorist attacks that occurred in Paris yesterday. Every feed of every form of social media is filled with pictures and hashtags calling us all to unite in prayer for Paris.
In the midst of tragedy, this is what we do. We call out in anguish and confusion over the horrors of this world. We not only want answers, we want comfort and a sense of security as well. Prayer offers an opportunity to seek those answers from the One who knows all. In his omniscience, he is already aware of our needs and desires, but through our prayers we display our trust in God to overcome, to reassure, to remain faithful and steadfast in the face of trial and tribulation.
So as we say these words and type these hashtags in an effort to stand with Paris, I have one request of the Christian community. When you publicly vow to pray for Paris, close your computer or lock your phone, and actually bow your head in prayer for mercy, strength and comfort for all those affected.
Saying we are going to pray is a cultural response, a sympathetic response we've developed as a way to say something to people to which nothing can be said. Let's not do the Parisian people a disservice. There is no greater power we can offer them than the power of prayer. Stop the lip service. Get on your knees, sit on your couch, gather around your tables and speak. Eloquence is not required. Answers are not required. The only thing needed is a mouth that speaks from the overflow of the heart. And hearts that are breaking for the innocent blood spilled at the hands of evil.
It is a beautiful thing to see countless people realize this need for prayer. Let us not stop at that realization, but move forward in action. If we trust that God is one who hears and has compassion on those who call out to him, let's strive to be faithful in interceding for those that can't (and even those that won't).
And ultimately, let us pray maranatha, come Lord Jesus, come. Because until we see Christ descending through the clouds to ransom his bride, terrorists will attack. Humanity will not be respected as image bearers of the Creator. Evil will still seek to kill and destroy. So as we pray for the physical and spiritual needs of those affected by the Paris attacks, let us also pray that Jesus would come and that he would come quickly. That he would restore his people, his kingdom, and bring to justice all the evil in this world. Once and for all.
Maranatha. Let your justice fall on the head of the oppressor. Let your name be glorified in all the earth. So that all will know YOU are the one, true God ruling and reigning supremely.
By Katie Howard: Christian. Wife. Mommy. Writer. Musician. Working on giving all of myself up to Jesus. I am not in control, even though I want to be. katiehhoward.com.
Publication date: November 14, 2015