In response to ongoing violence and division in Minden, a somewhat impromptu prayer meeting took place near J.L. Jones Elementary School Sunday afternoon. Organized in just a couple of days by teacher Jamie Lewis, the prayer meeting attracted many concerned citizens, community leaders, and members of the media, including myself.
Several people spoke and offered prayers for the city, its neighborhoods, its children and families. While we know that prayer is the very best thing we can do in situations where hope is needed, it is not the only thing that we can do. Many who spoke talked about the need for loving action to take place in the days to come. Perhaps one of the most honest comments came from Pastor Sam Mims of the Shepherd’s Hut Church. “We don’t like each other very much right now.” The retired Army Colonel had the guts to say what has been thought by many in the community.
As I listened, both as an observer and a citizen, hope began to well up inside of me. Here were people, concerned enough about their city, to take time on a Sunday afternoon to pray. I was also challenged in my own spirit to ask myself, “What do I do?”
The following scripture came to my remembrance:
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. — Matthew 7:7-8 (KJV)
However, I recalled that other translations added “and keep” to asking, seeking, and knocking. I shared this with those in attendance, something a “member of the media” doesn’t typically do. But, like I said, I was there as much as a citizen as I was the owner of this newspaper.
You see, a prayer meeting without ongoing prayer is just an event. While events are nice, they are but a moment in time. Ongoing prayer moves the heart of God because it shows one’s commitment.
When you pray, God also reveals areas of improvement in our own selves. Many times, “change them” prayers turn into “change me” prayers, and that is a good thing.
The violence and division in our city will not be solved by merely praying “change them” prayers. It must be coupled with “What would you have me do?” prayers.
The challenge to all of us is to keep the prayers going, and to take action when prompted. You never know what your prayer might do. Your prayer may bring peace to a situation you know nothing about. Your prayer may give hope to someone who has lost their hope. Your prayer may cause you to sacrifice something in your own life in order to bless another person.
Sunday was a good starting place. Let’s keep asking, seeking, knocking, and taking action.
David Specht is president of Specht Newspapers, Inc., owner of the Minden Press-Herald.