It’s almost impossible to be cocooned from major crises. Media technology transports us to the action site while a crisis is unfolding. We felt the shock and pain of those caught in the catastrophic destruction of Indian Ocean and Pacific Coast tsunamis. The groan of human suffering in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and South Sudan is channeled into our homes. As a crisis shifts from a side-column mention to news headlines, global awareness expands, empathy deepens and involvement ratchets up. The trigger that usually catapults the unified, energetic, sacrificial efforts to a high level of urgency is this: lives are at stake. And in the picture of crisis and response, we notice the stirring of a giant: focused, widespread prayer.
A local crisis 300 Km north of our home unfolded into global news over the past two weeks. The Wild Boars football team had been trapped in the recesses of Chiangrai’s Tham Luang cave by sudden floods. The hold-nothing-back rescue operation saved the twelve young boys and their coach after 17 days of mixed opinions about the chances of survival. When the last one was carried from the cave a few days ago, the relief and celebration was global.
Scrolling down the endless list of comments celebrating the rescue, I was struck by how wide and strong the PRAYER involvement had been. That got me thinking of THE CRISIS – a global tragedy, millions of lives trapped in spiritual Darkness, many unreached and forgotten. How does a similar global, unified, passionate prayer involvement happen – such as seen over the past two weeks (and in most life-threatening crises), but with infinitely bigger stakes? Will the giant stir and show its strength – urgent, energetic, unified prayer for THE RESCUE, the through-Christ-alone freeing of lives otherwise forever lost and hopeless?
Without news feeds there would be no widespread awareness and response to crises. Here’s the reality: most Christians are exposed to THE CRISIS; we’re aware of the news. But awareness (knowing the truths of lostness and salvation) isn’t enough. Unless we actually engage with the news by drawing it into our circle of life-experience, it becomes little more than information filed in our doctrinal archives. Prayer is the cutting edge of THE RESCUE mission to those in THE CRISIS. Desire and passion for THE RESCUE grow as we engage with the truth, and the best way to do that is by praying it. It puts us on a journey – wonderful but uncomfortably stretching – into the heart of the Lord for people still in THE CRISIS.
It helps to take a Scripture passage (relating to THE CRISIS and/or THE RESCUE), see the truths it carries, then respond to the Lord. The Father-and-me conversation will orbit around those truths. Keep doing that until the truths read have become truth rooted in the heart. For instance, Isaiah 9:2 (used in Matt 4:16):
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned.
Stay anchored to the truths in the verse and pray the following:
The light referred to is Jesus (see Matt 4:14-16). Take time to ponder Jesus as Light of the world. What does this truth mean for you? What do you admire about Christ as great Light? Pray out your admiration of him.
Affirm, declare, announce your belief that there is no other Light – no individual, philosophy, religion or science – that is able to free lives from the “deep darkness” caused by mankind’s sin.
- Ask the Lord for a shining of his great Light of salvation into… (name a community or a less-reached nation or people group).
- Ask (as you keep admiring him as great Light) for the giant to stir and stretch to full stature; for an increase of urgent, unified, global prayer for people in THE CRISIS, people in desperate need of THE RESCUE.