This blog post is a part of the GivePray2012 engagement campaign. If you haven’t already, please consider joining the campaign. A one-time gift of $20 and 12 prayers is all it takes. Click here for more information.
I’m calling an audible today.
I had a different post that I was prepared to share as the fifth prayer focus for GivePray2012. But after Friday, my prayers have honestly changed and it would be wrong for me to ask you to pray for something that I am not currently praying for myself. The school shooting on Friday has brought forward thoughts and prayers that I honestly think are more important to address than anything directly related to Unthinkable. Though I know many of you are honestly sick of hearing and talking about this tragedy, I’d like to ask you to push through and give this post a chance. When someone walks into an elementary school and starts shooting up Kindergarden students it should grab the attention of any man or woman who calls Jesus their Savior. We have an obligation to help others see Jesus in the midst of indescribable devastation.
This is the kind of evil that captures the focus of even the most jaded of people. Though we’ve seen Columbine, VA Tech, and Aurora, this is the first mass shooting in an elementary school. In his response, Dr. Russell Moore said that “violence against children is peculiarly satanic because it destroys the very picture of newness of life and dependent trust that characterizes life in the kingdom of God (Matt. 18:4). Children are a blessing, and that enrages the horrifying nature of those who seek only to kill and to destroy (Jn. 10:10).”
When Adam Lanza shot up that school, it was evil in purest form. It was sin on a tragically grand display. But let me be clear for a moment. We all have Adam Lanza (CT Shooter) tendencies in us. If you have submitted your life to Christ, you turned from the “sinful nature” you are prone to embrace (Galatians 5:13). True salvation is not just a new approach to life, it is new life altogether. Though we may not desire to murder, without the Holy Spirit our nature is purely evil sin. As Christians we must understand this in order to respond to the tragedy in a way that truly honors Jesus. We can’t fall into the trap of simply seeing the bad action committed and trying to change it. Surely improving security measures is a good step, but the actions Adam Lanza committed are symptoms of a much deeper problem.
If someone has set their heart on murder, gun control won’t change that. They’ll just find another weapon. Tighter security measures may slow it, but if they are smart they’ll still figure out a way. Understanding the psychological state of a person may be beneficial, but it also may just be useless knowledge void of a truly substantive change. The only absolute way to change a person who has their heart set on murder is by changing their heart. The only one who can really change hearts is the Holy Spirit. The only way the Holy Spirit gets access to our hearts is by submission to Jesus. The only answer to the horrible state of our broken society is Jesus. You can’t legislate a heart change. God does that. We don’t need new laws. We need new birth. We need Jesus.
Though it mat be helpful in certain ways, our greatest tool in response to the Connecticut shooting is not legislation. It is prayer. The Bible is very clear. Honest, authentic, and persistent prayer moves the heart of God (Luke 11:1-13). If you are sick and tired of events like last week, we do have a tool to stop them. It is prayer. Unfortunately, though it is the most powerful tool we have, it is often the last resource we use. We wait until we are hopeless, instead of proactively praying as people who are hopeful.
Today… like NEVER BEFORE… I want to challenge you to pray that those around you who are away from God will embrace complete submission to his son Jesus. Think about the person who is furthest from God. The one that is the least likely to begin a relationship with Him. Use the tragedy of Friday to focus your prayers for that person. Don’t just say you are going to pray – DO IT… and do it a lot! One of the most mind-boggling attributes of our God is that he often takes the most horrible messes and brings absolutely beauty as a result. He can do that with this tragedy as well!
God launched the nation of Israel, his chosen people, through Abraham’s barren wife Sarah (Genesis 21:2). He protected Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego even though their King threw them in a fire pit (Daniel). It’s Christmas time. Remember why we celebrate? He offered salvation to the entire world through a baby who was born in a barn to a poor family and died on a cross for crimes he didn’t commit!
God is in the business of making great beauty out of great messes. With that hope… please join in me in praying that the lives taken from us in Connecticut last week will be honored by a renewed effort amongst believers to see souls converted from death to life.
Sin is strong. God is stronger. Use your prayers to beg God to leverage this horrible mess for incredible good. Beg him to use this to lead MANY people to embrace Jesus and turn away from their sin. In the midst of it all, if you are a Christian, give thanks to God for the incredible heart change he is has already created in you. We serve a very, very good God.
The next prayer post will be available in the coming days. Please share this with your friends. If you aren’t receiving these updates via email, and would like to, you can sign up for GivePray2012 or just email email@example.com and let us know.