It’s being reported that a small church group in the Houston area is resorting to prayer as a defense and means of warding off hurricane Ike. I’m sure they are not the only ones, they just happen to be the ones captured by a local television station. Normally this would not be of any interest to me except the whole country knows the power of a hurricane and what it will do to people’s lives – even those not even close to it.
Now storms are storms, hurricanes will be hurricanes and tornadoes will be tornadoes. None of which should be considered accidental if there is a belief in a sovereign God. Nothing escapes His notice since He has control off all things. Consequently, praying for a “storm to dissipate” might be likened to asking God to do something contrary to His sovereign will already set in motion. Or, at the least, have Him change His mind. Which then goes straight to the issue of immutability. Oh my, what a conundrum.
Now, I don’t know for certain, but I suspect, if the Hurricane ravages the Houston area, these prayer warriors may well say, “it was God’s will.” If the storm weakens they may say their prayers were answered. If the storm bypasses their area they might say, God answered their prayers – much to the detriment of those who didn’t pray and experienced wholesale devastation. I am not opposed to prayer. However, this seems like a no win situation for at least somebody in that region or where ever the storm comes ashore.
What if they prayed, “Lord, help us to be wise in coping with this event that is totally out of our control. Let us be a shelter of hope, helpers to the helpless, a refuge to the homeless and missionaries to those who suffer loss as a result of the hurricane’s impact.” Wouldn’t that be a prudent prayer and a brighter testimony to those around them?
Jesus is the only one I know of who calmed the seas and stilled the storm. Even then he left his disciples flabbergasted and amazed. They were scared to death in the storm and not much better when it ceased. That kind of miracle does not happen every day. In fact, nothing like it ever really happened again. So perhaps we might learn something from that story. God will do what God is going to do and only God can decide to do otherwise. Whom am I, or anyone for that matter, that might think for one nanosecond we could change that?
Prudent prayer is powerful prayer. Perhaps we take that privilege too lightly at times.