Heading to bed with reports of Russian attacks on Ukraine, and waking up to a slow drip of details can have a paralysing effect. How are we supposed to function when the world is raging like this? What are we supposed to do when we don’t even know what to do?
It’s days like today that I’m thankful for muscle memory. My body wakes me at a particular time and I half-conscious-walk downstairs to brew some coffee: It’s time to spend some time in the word and prayer before tiny feet pitter-patter downstairs for Cheerios.
I opened my Bible this morning (I’m writing this on February 24th), and my daily Psalm was Psalm 46:
1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
7 The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
8 Come and see what the Lord has done,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
11 The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
I read these words and I think to myself: I don’t know what to do, other than be still and know that He is God, and that he will be exalted among the nations.
So I started to pray that God would be exalted in Russia, and Ukraine, and Canada.
After a short prayer, I start to scroll through my phone, and up pops this timely and helpful article from The Gospel Coalition: To Stay and Serve. I encourage you to read it. It’s a great reminder that even while the nations rage, the Lord is at work through his people. Even now there are faithful Ukrainian Christians staying to love and serve their neighbours, and be a witness to the ultimate Kingship of Jesus.
I stop my scrolling. I probably shouldn’t have started, but am thankful I bumped into that article. I pick my Bible back up to finish my daily reading wondering to myself: “So, what should we do on days when we don’t know what to do?”
My muscle memory clicks in again as the caffeine starts to have affect and I reflexively think – after the word comes prayer.
Because prayer actually does something. Prayer is one of the primary means by which God accomplishes His purposes. But on days like this, what do we pray if we don’t even know how to pray?
But first, back to my daily Bible reading. And it brought me to Matthew 5-7. And right in the middle of Jesus’ most famous sermon (Matthew 6:9-13), he teaches his disciples how to pray when they don’t know how:
9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’
So what should we do when we don’t know what to do? What should we do when the nations rage?
Let’s find time to be still, to know that He is God, and to pray.
Pastor Greg Harris | East Abbotsford Campus Pastor