Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Praying about the weather

Everyone has seen the devastation in Joplin, MO this week. Today the area (we're about 100 mile drive from Joplin) is forecast to have another "tornado outbreak." Everyone tweets about praying for Joplin, but how do we pray about the weather? Praying that a storm would "miss" or "avoid" a certain area means you're praying for the storm to hit other people, and I don't think many praying people realize that. Al Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Seminary, wrote a blog post about this a few years back, and I find it helpful (emphases mine):

"Why would God allow (tornadoes)? The fully satisfying answer to that question is known to God alone. But we do know this much – every atom and molecule of creation testifies of God’s glory, reveals His power and nature, and stands under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. God is not a divine spectator, watching planet Earth unwind and revolve...God remains the sovereign over all His creation.
"How should we pray? Well, we must not pray that the storm would avoid us, only to go elsewhere and harm others. I wonder if many Christians are listening to themselves when they pray storms upon others and claim an answer to prayer when the devastation moves elsewhere. This is unworthy of our Lord’s command that we are to love others even as we love ourselves. We must certainly pray for our loved ones, but we must also pray for those we do not know and will never meet on earth. Perhaps we should pray as Jesus taught us, praying that the Father’s will would be done, that all persons would be spared harm, and that Christians would respond in the aftermath of disaster with a clear Christian witness of care, assistance, and witness. We should pray that any ‘natural’ disaster would be an opportunity for Christian witness to the supernatural Gospel, and for Christian reflection on the beauty of the Savior. Remember this: Nothing can separate Christians from the love of God. Not (tornadoes), not pestilence, not even death."

Update: Mark 4 was part of my Bible reading today, and it gave me what to pray:
36Leaving the crowd, they took Him along with them in the boat, just as He was; and other boats were with Him. 37And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. 38Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and said to Him, "Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?" 39And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, "Hush, be still." And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. 40And He said to them, "Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?" 41They became very much afraid and said to one another, "Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?"

My prayer is for God's will to be "Hush, be still. "


twothingsincommon said...

Wow - thanks for sharing this, Justin. I think I am going to post this on my blog, too.

Sharina Smith said...

Very profound thoughts, Justin. I needed to read this tonight as I contemplate how to pray in the midst of the storms.