Wednesday, January 9, 2013

People of Prayer

Below is an article I wrote as an invitation to my community to join me in prayer for our local school.  We have a date set and I am looking forward to standing together with other parents, grandparents, students and staff as we dedicate our school and our community to God.

I wanted to post it here in hopes that others will catch the vision and bring their own communities together in this way.

Feel free to share the article and join me in standing together in prayer.  Email me your story and pictures.  I'd love to hear how other communities are coming together as well!

Becoming People of Prayer

I sat in my van a moment longer than usual this morning watching my four children walk happily towards their classrooms.  I couldn’t help but notice how large my five-year-old son’s backpack still looks compared to his little body.

I smiled sadly as I wondered how the mothers of Sandy Hook were doing on this morning.  Twenty other mothers.  Mommies who will no longer watch their little ones walk out the door and off to school.  Mommies with empty beds, empty chairs and empty arms weeping at the sight of unopened Christmas presents under unlit Christmas trees.

Gratefulness for my blessings battled with grief and despair somewhere deep in my soul and I could only look heavenward, placing the ones I love so desperately in the care of my Creator.

Fear joined me for a moment and I grasped wildly within my mind for an answer.  Any answer!  What could I do?  What can I do to guarantee a life of safety for my children?

More locks?  More security? More guards? More guns?

Yet each solution is met with the terrifying reality that even my greatest attempts will not bring complete assurance to my trembling soul that all will be well. 

That all will be… safe. 

Or that four little souls will come home to me at the end of the day.

The gunman that killed those twenty boys and girls was not stopped by even the most trusted security system in our schools today.  When he could not enter through a door, he broke a window reminding us that sometimes even our best-laid plans will not stop the attack of the enemy.

All our human efforts have not stopped the mass slayings of children in our schools, whether public, private, or university.  Not even in the isolation of an Amish school!

I came to the conclusion that we as American’s can continue to exhaust all our resources in our effort to protect our children, but it will not bring us peace. 

Instead, we cling to the statistics reminding us that the chances of it being our school on the evening news are slim…. yet, as a mother, banking on statistics when it’s my child’s life hanging in the balance is not acceptable.  

So what is the answer? I ask. 

I find only one that brings me hope... only one that gives me peace – and it is in God alone.  He promises in His word that He is the God that is "right at your side to protect you... He guards you now, He guards you always."

My plan is to walk the perimeter of the school properties and pray for God’s protection over each child and teacher that enters.  I’ll ask for divine protection to stand guard at each door and window.  I’ll confess that without God, we are without hope and that all our trust is in Him.  And I’ll praise Him for His promises to give us a hope and a future.  

Now hear me, I am not so naive to think that I can skate through this broken world unscathed.  That is impossible.  And I'm not proclaiming that a simple walk around a small town school partnered with simple words prayed by a simple woman will guarantee a life of safety and security for my children.  But I will declare that the safest place for me to be... the safest place I want my children and their teachers to be, is in the shelter of God's protection.  And though I can pray for it from my living room sofa, knowing that He'll hear me, I believe there's something more to it.

Peter sat in a boat that was tossing and turning out on the open sea.  And though the storm was raging around him, and though he could have chosen to stay in the safety of his boat, Peter chose to step out in faith, in the middle of the storm, in an effort to get closer to the One he saw walking on the water.

The world is raging around us.  I'm done sitting in this boat, clinging white-knuckled to it's sides... hoping we'll make it to the other side in safety.  The storm isn't going away, so stand up with me.  Step out of your boat.  Join with me in reaching out towards the Master and inviting His presence and power to surround our schools and our communities.

Through Peter's life I realized, it's not always about living "safe", but rather taking a stand to show those around us where our faith lies.

I'm getting out of the boat.  Will you join me?

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