Photo courtesy of Anne Hope, Flickr Creative Commons

by Richard Mouw

Back in the South African apartheid era, I helped organize anti-apartheid efforts in our local community in Michigan. At one of those gatherings we heard a stirring address by a visiting black Christian leader from South Africa. She helpfully proposed some specific actions that we could take to promote the cause of justice in her country.

At the conclusion of her talk she also urged us to keep praying for an end to the apartheid policies. In the discussion period following her talk a young man stood to register his irritation about the call to prayer. “I’m sick of just praying about this. I want us to do something!”

Her response was for me memorable. “I’m not recommending ‘just praying.’ I gave you a number of things that you should also be doing.” But then she added: “Don’t knock praying, though. Prayer is doing something. It is petitioning the highest authority in universe. That is an important kind of action!”

I have been thinking about her comment as I have seen many online comments responding to the call for prayer on behalf of the victims of the latest church shooting in Texas. I personally was pleased that President Trump called for prayers on this occasion — as I was when previous presidents made similar pleas in times of national crisis.

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SOURCE: Religion News Service