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Praying at 185 MPH
September 4

Is Dorian a name that has been on your mind a lot lately? Have you too been glued to the news following this massive storm? Wondering how bad the damage is and where this storm may travel to next? I can't begin to image what it was like for those who endured what must've felt like an eternity as the storm decimated their homes and the island they live on.  

Is one supposed to pray in moments like these? What are they supposed to pray? What do they ask for and what words do they use?

I have long been critical of prayers that have turned God into a genie in a lamp, or this idea that if we just get enough people to forward the same email or share the same postthen God will answer our prayer. As horrible as this approach to prayer is, we also shouldn't stop praying when it feels like we are in the middle of a storm. I'm sure many folks were praying as it seemed like the winds and rains would never stop, and I hope that those prayers brought them comfort, even if it felt like the storm was never going to stop. Instead of asking God to answer our prayers, like a genie grants a wish, we invite God to be a part of a challenging moment that we worry we may never get out of. We share our fears and ask God to be with us even when it seems like the world is crashing in on us. The situation may not change, but we are reminded that we aren't alone.

In the often-misquoted book of Job, it says that God speaks to Job out of the whirlwind. What an interesting choice of words and image. After Job has lost everything, even his own health, and his friends have given him the worst advice ever, and he cries out to God, God speaks to Job from the whirlwind. Why the whirlwind?  

May we find comfort in a God who can say to us that God has experienced any devastation that we worry we may one day encounter. Sure, it would be great if our prayers were like magic spells or conjured genies from lamps, but even more powerful is a God who promises to be with us in the middle of the storm and who will stay with us as we put the pieces back together. Maybe that's the prayer we pray when the wind is howling at 185 mph and we worry we have nothing left to hold onto.  In those times may our prayers remind us that God is holding on to us.

Grace and Peace, 

Pastor Chris  

Last Published: September 9, 2019 8:58 AM