President Trump made an appearance at a church on the Sunday after the recent shooting in Virginia Beach. His spoke persons said the presidential appearance was in response to the tradgedy. The pastor of the church prayed for him , for the nation , and for the families of the victims. Despite the high probability that political motivations were at play, the coverage of the story was a reminder that prayer is important, especially in times of great loss. As a practicioner of prayer, I offer at least five benefits:
1. Prayer reminds us that we are not alone. When we pray, we are acknowledging the presence of an invisible God who loves us and will never leave us.
2. Prayer releases a sense of calmness and peace within us. While the circumstances around us may be tumultuous, there is an inner tranquility that invades the heart that opens itself to the divine.
3. Prayer helps to change our attitude or perspective about the people or the situation for which we are praying. There is usually not much that can be done in the immediate aftermath of such a horrendous act of violence as referred to above. Prayer reminds us that, despite the confusion, and flood of unanswered questions, God is bigger than the circumstances, and He can provide the intangibles (faith, hope, peace, love, and joy) to sustain and uplift the most grief strickend heart. Prayer may not change the circumstances, but it can change me.
4.Prayer motivates the one praying to become a part of the solution. As we pray for comfort for the grieving or healing for those who are hurting, God moves us to do what we can to help. It is not often the unexplained miracle that falls down from the sky that comes to rescue a desperate soul, but the resources of our own human efforts…that is God’s answer to our prayers.
5. Prayer still opens up the windows of Heaven. God still moves in mysterious and miraculous ways.