Headlines about yet another shooting has brought out the idea that prayer is not enough to stop this violence. But are we making the right demands on prayer? Are we almost using prayer as a way to plead without realizing the resources we already have. That would be like a millionaire begging for money. Are we begging for peace, while not being aware of the dominion we have been given to establish peace?
One commandment tells us that we are not to take the name of the Lord in vain. (See Exodus 20: 7.) Could that mean we are not to pray and not expect results?
Christ Jesus' prayers had results. They healed. They had a way of cutting through the thought of crowds of hatred, of slicing through sexism, ageism, racism, and ignorance and maliciousness – and establishing harmony, health, social order and peace to those receptive to it.
What was it that he knew and taught that can be relevant today and on campuses everywhere? What can we learn from Christ Jesus as a healer, reformer and peacemaker?
A knowledge of the overwhelming power of Truth and Love.
Love takes no backseat to terror and violence. Prayer based on God's love is not an opiate or coping mechanism. Christ Jesus' knowledge of God as Love emboldened and secured his path. He knew the power of God was made manifest as Love and Truth and this radically changed the course of humanity.
How does this help us? We can stand on the proof that good is not helpless, and that throwing our weight on the side of Truth and justice opens the door for justice and truth to operate.
In any group consciousness, the stronger thought rules the weaker. And we can refuse to let hatred, anger, or fear of mental illness be the stronger thought.
There is overwhelming evidence that life continues, and that goodness is our common ground. Life, without love is unsustainable. Progress, moving us to greater responsibility to humanity, marches on. The Christian Science Monitor had an article by John Yemma “Why Progress Endures” which included this gem:
“One of the best arguments for progress being more than wishful thinking is contained in “The Lessons of History,” a slim volume that Will and Ariel Durant wrote after spending half a century researching and writing their magisterial series, “The Story of Civilization...."
Earlier in their book, the Durants acknowledged that the history in which they had immersed themselves rarely recorded quiet progress: “Behind the red façade of war and politics, misfortune and poverty, adultery and divorce, murder and suicide, were millions of orderly homes, devoted marriages, men and women kindly and affectionate, troubled and happy with children.”
Life is persistent. A consciousness of the sustaining power of Love is strong and enduring, standing up to the violence of the day. Love always has won, always wins, always will win.
Prayer is not a vacuous hope that things will be better. Prayer is power. In 2 Corinthians 10: 4, we agree that "The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds." (NIV)
Prayer is a communion with omnipresent power known as God, who is defined by early Christians as Love. (See 1 John 4:16.) This Love is not variable but consistent and pure. Prayer forms the basis of thought out of which come our actions. Prayer based on pure Love, fuels moral courage.
Anger based on fear is destructive, but righteous anger that stands up against hatred, fear, and violence -- and based on everyone's God-given rights to live and love -- is transforming. Christ's stark protests against hypocrisy, prejudice, violence and greed broke the hold these had in thought and opened the doors to a higher sense of peace and justice. These protests are just as needed today.
Jesus' works confirmed his words. And in fact, without his works, his words were empty. That is still the case today. We all need to walk our talk - prove our prayer.
The importance of prayer is that it lays the foundation for our action. A knowledge of the power of Truth, God comes with it a seasoned and reasoned sense of the fallible nature of evil and the infallible nature of good. It calms the thought and we are able to listen – we are able to be still – quieting the restless thoughts and anguish that sometimes surround violent events – and act out of an intelligent and comprehensive Love, not out of hatred, doubt, apathy or fear.
Prayer can lead us down productive paths, and can give us the moral courage to help us take whatever human footsteps are necessary. Whether this means simply a prayer that weighs in with the wave of healing and progressive thoughts of others, or a series of human footsteps motivated by a greater good for all -- we have the tools at hand to claim everyone's right to safety and security.
We can appeal to humanity's higher nature that is earnestly and urgently desiring to protect our children and the safety or our educational institutions and our homes. We can act to remove senseless violence.
Kim C Korinek, CSB
banner photo (c) Micah Korinek; other photos by Gabe Korinek, Kim Korinek, Brad Crooks. Leslie Larsen (c) 2016