When Prayer Doesn’t Seem Like Enough

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I confess that I have had, since I was a boy, a “savior complex”; it’s tied in closely to my Type-A, take charge, “doer” personality, so when I see things going on around me and something needs to be done – like the wildfires in Southern California – I want to kick it into high gear.

Despite the fact that I grew up in a Christian home, with parents who have dedicated their lives and careers to faith-based ministry, I have somehow never felt that prayer was doing. It’s always seemed like what you do when you’re waiting to do something real, or when you can’t do anything else…sort of a time-filler, not really “doing” anything, just waiting…and wishing.

Having moved up from San Diego last year, and having experienced (to a limited extent) the devastation from the Cedar Fire there four years ago next week, the fires raging down there now are challenging both my faith and my savior complex. I want to pray (and I am praying), but I also want to do something more, as if that were possible. I’m not comfortable with the possibility that God may just want me to learn to pray, and quite frankly, I’m going to fight him on that a bit. Theological lessons aside, I want to see what we can do from here. Maybe it will be “just” praying, but maybe there’s something more. There are some very real, immediate needs – for doctors and nurses, coffee, cots, blankets, sun block, prepared foods…. There will be ongoing needs, for cleanup first, but also for rebuilding, refurnishing homes, replacing clothes and toys and dishes and couches and beds. (Many people haven’t even finished rebuilding since the Cedar Fire four years ago; others, I would bet, have already lost what they just rebuilt.) [For a look at real needs in real time – and to see what some people are doing – check out the blog for Flood Church in San Diego at http://www.diveintoflood.com/impactblog/?p=48.]

How might we mobilize ourselves, our professional associates, our clients…and their extended resources…to be of service in these fire-devastated areas? I’m open to your thoughts…and your prayers.

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