Like many people, I love listening to the radio when driving. I don’t subscribe to satellite radio with their clear signals, so sometimes, the music or news programs I am listening to get interrupted by static. But I know that when I tweak the dial just a bit, or drive on further, that particular station will once again come in loud and clear.
Life requires of us a fair amount of “tuning in.” Kids, jobs, spouses and details of our days demand our attention – and rightly so. But with the onslaught of instant information we receive via the internet and social media, coupled with our daily duties, it can sometimes feel overwhelming.
Still, I’m grateful when I’m made aware of things that are of utmost importance. For example, like most of the rest of the world, I found out about the attacks in Paris through social media and immediately turned on the TV to see what was happening.
My first thought was, “not again!” But on the heels of that came a deep desire to help, and I began to pray for all of those affected – the dear ones who were lost and their families and the injured. When I got on Facebook and Twitter, I saw dozens of posts saying, “Prayers for Paris.” This quote and similar ones seemed to be everywhere -sounding the call to the world to turn to our Divine Source for comfort and help.
Prayer is an ancient practice. There is evidence that man has been praying since as early as the middle Paleolithic Period (around 200,000-45,000 B.Ch.E). Webster defines prayer as – “an address (as a petition) to God in word or thought; an earnest request or wish.” And, certainly The Bible is full of accounts of how certain individuals, such as Abraham, David and Daniel, turned to God in prayer and were delivered from life-threatening situations.
But recent headlines have suggested that praying to God isn’t working and that we need to do more humanly to stop all of the violence.
Certainly, much already has been done. Countries around the world have spent priceless resources in time, talent and treasure to counteract violence; and individuals and communities continue to explore a wide variety of solutions.
Still, in response to the criticism that prayer is not effective in times of trouble, CBS Late Show host, Stephen Colbert had this to say, “The reason you keep people in your thoughts and prayers is, admittedly, not to fix the problem but to try to find some small way to share the burden of grief.”
This compassionate outpouring of care is helpful on so many levels. But can prayer go further than just sharing this burden of grief? Can it actually keep one safe in the midst of fear, violence and terrorism? Can it bring practical solutions?
In my experience, I have found that turning to God – who the Bible says is Love, itself, and “our refuge and strength” – for help, has often been a catalyst in helping me to see more clearly the direction I need to take. This has been especially true when every human idea has been exhausted or there was no human help available.
And, others have also found this to be true. A compelling example is shared in this article. The author shows how, through turning to God in prayer, he was able to avoid areas where bombs were going off in the Latin American country where he was doing a public speaking tour. He writes, “As I moved through the streets, I would feel impelled to change my route or timing. Several times a bomb would explode just before or after I would be in a particular location. And during those times, not only was I safe but no harm came to anyone else.”
So, no matter where we are, on the streets of Paris, Latin America or even in our own living room, our Help – for both comfort and real solutions – is at hand. And even though we know that radio waves are all around us, we can’t take advantage of their messages until we turn on the radio and tune in. God is all around us and prayer tunes us into this divine Radio Station.
Malissa is a wife, mom, stepmom and grandmother. Originally from the Chicago, Illinois area, she has lived in Iowa, Colorado, Hawaii and Upstate New York. She now resides in the beautiful city of Savannah, Georgia. Her background is in Health and Fitness, spanning a 30year period. She taught group exercise classes and spent most of her career as an Assistant Director for a YMCA. Helping others find their way to a more healthful, harmonious and spiritual path as a Christian Science practitioner is now her life’s work. She is a health writer and focuses on the connection between our thinking, our health and spirituality. Spending time with her family, being out in nature, hiking, swimming and walking the dog are some of her favorite things to do.