Pray First!

Hurricane Irma.NYTimes - irmapix-24-superJumbo.Smllr
Ron Morales and Fernando Trujillo wade through floodwaters in Bonita Springs, Florida, on Monday. (Credit: Eric Thayer for The New York Times.)

During these last ten days the eyes of the world have been on Hurricane Irma. The total devastation of many Caribbean islands and the havoc wreaked in Florida, not to mention the terrible earthquake off southern Mexico, have shocked us all. We are suddenly faced with the fragility of life, and don’t know where to turn for safety and security.

In his televised update on the storm (September 10th), Rick Scott, Florida Governor, encouraged Floridians to: “Take this deadly storm seriously. Stay safe, be prepared, … everyone’s family matters, every life matters.” He encouraged those who had offered help to give, to volunteer and to pray. “I don’t see prayer as a last resort,” he said. “It should always be a first resort.”

We may not understand why our Creator would allow such a tragic event; even in a world which, on the whole, rejects Him, but we pray because we have a refuge, an anchor in the storm; we have a God who is listening for our cry; we have Jesus. Life can be alarming, taking unexpected twists and turns. Yet when everything around us is shaking, Jesus is our Rock. He knows what you’re going through; He is there with you. We can tell Him our troubles and He understands.

3,000 years ago, King David wrote about the Creator’s loving intervention in his life:

“I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.”

Psalm 40:1-3 (NIVUK)

So why is prayer often a last resort; often left until everything else has failed?

We’d do well to take Rick Scott’s advice: next time you’re out of your depth, next time life is more than you can handle … PRAY FIRST! And invite Jesus to set your feet upon a rock.

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