First of all, we are reminded to ask that “supplications,
prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone,”
says Paul in his letter to Timothy. No better time to reflect on
this priority than in the wake of hurricane Katrina. The lessons
today are about prayer and about asking God to help us when we cry
out. And they are also about the attitude we need to have when we
ask for help.
Certainly, there is a great crying out along the Gulf Coast, indeed
across the nation, these past weeks and will be for some time ahead.
I was touched by a man’s petition on National Public Radio
recently. He said, as if in prayer, “God bless us, somebody
please bless us.” I have taken his prayer as my own, joining
in with all the faithful who are praying for God’s strength
and shield at this time of great need.
The lessons today remind us that the first thing we need to do is
pray. But I think there are a few lessons about how we are supposed
to pray that can be helpful here. Paul writes that the best way
to pray is without anger or argument. That is becoming more and
more difficult to do for people in Louisiana and Mississippi. Patience
is running thin. And some are probably asking God, “What did
I do to deserve this?” Or, “what do I have to do to
get help?” Jesus says, when we ask him to do something for
us, we shouldn’t think about whether or not we are deserving.
Nor should we think about whether or not we have the authority to
do anything about the crises at hand. No matter who we are, it is
our faith that gets the attention of God, not our status. Our faith
is a great resource here.
I am confident that the prayers of all the people of faith who read
this site each day are adding to the strength of the Lord’s
people and will carry them through this ordeal. And these prayers
are also helping each of us to find a way to do the Lord’s
work at this time. In the midst of supplications and petitions,
I give thanks that the Creighton community has launched a number
of initiatives that are being met by the faithful. But the first
thing we did was to pray. And we will continue to pray.
“Lord bless all those people in harm’s way by sending
them help and comfort, through us. And please give them strength
and patience. We thank you for hearing our pleadings.”