Two weeks ago, our country witnessed the tragedy of 49 victims in a mass shooting at a nightclub in Orlando. Months before that, our world watched as tragedy struck Paris, where the atrocious acts of suicide bombers and gunmen left 130 dead and dozens more injured. This morning I woke up to the news of a gun and suicide bomb attack on your country, Istanbul’s Ataturk airport, killing 41 people and injuring over 200 more of your family. Your friends. Your neighbors. #PrayForTurkey, #PrayForOrlando, #PrayForPeace, #PrayForParis.
Why We Hashtag
These tragic events are making the worst part of history, and they’re becoming so “normal,” that the only way we respond to them is with a hashtag which I know would never bring back those you lost. To be honest I feel so helpless, like I don’t know what I could possibly do to help the situation, so I resort to this.
When something tragic happens in our world, we are informed of the events almost instantly. In some cases even while it’s happening. In these moments, social media creates a platform for caring. Almost to a fault—like if you don’t post about how you’re caring for the events, you must not care.
Praying Is Far More Than Sentences Without Spaces
So this hashtag floats around, “#PrayFor___,” and helpless people like me share it to show that we’re aware of and thinking about the events that have unfolded. It’s not me saying I know what you’re going through, it’s not me saying I’ve been there and it’s definitely not me trying to convey that prayer will stop the waterfall of grief I can only imagine that you’re drowning in.
It’s simply me saying this situation, this evil, is far bigger than me and an enemy that only God can destroy.
God calls us to pray BIG prayers that are bold, specific and full of foolish faith. To pray for the impossible. So I pray for you. I also share the hashtag…one does not equal the other.
Praying for the Impossible
In times of tragedy, “#PrayFor___,” is something that makes us feel good in our humanness. But actually praying for ___, is calling God to show up, and work in ways that only HE can. He didn’t create or cause these tragedies. If we want to see real change in the world, the only way is through the power of Jesus Christ.[video-ad]
Who brought Lazarus back from the dead? Who healed an old cripple and made him walk? Who parted an entire sea for a nation to walk through to escape their enemies? Pray to THAT God. Under every circumstance, big or small, it’s not about praying for the best. It’s about praying for the impossible.
Don’t Waste Your “Prayers”
Praying intentional prayers is so much more than simply “praying for a city.” There are so many people, places, things and lives that are affected by the terror that we see unfold every day.
I fight against generics because you’re not a generic victim, you’re a uniquely created image bearer feeling very REAL and UNIQUE pain. I’m genuinely praying that in every new tragic circumstance, my fellow Christians will commit to praying for the moms of every victim, or the children who are now dad-less. Pray for the finances of the victims’ families, and the milestones they’re going to face with a piece of their heart and life missing. Pray outside of the box, and be foolish in your requests.
Prayers are precious, and they hold so much power. Don’t lessen their value by praying for warm weather tomorrow, or a front row parking spot. Praying for a tragedy and those involved is so much more than a social media presence.
I wont settle for a hashtag, but I will trust in a conversation with the creator.