Before our next word or action…

Even now, I’m reminded that the word of God and the presence of God stands at all times and under all circumstances, even as new developments and events unfold.

Like many of you, I’ve been horrified in recent weeks at the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. As a next-door neighbor to a Denver police officer, I’m equally horrified at what he and his peers have faced over the past 48 hours.

Times like this are feeling increasingly familiar, and the idea of ‘thoughts and prayers’ has been frowned upon in favor of visible action over the past few years. It’s viewed as a shying away from doing more by some.

For followers of Jesus Christ, prayer IS the action that guides all other action. Prayer is what Jesus himself engaged in as a priority. For Jesus and his followers, it was – and is – essential to keeping unbroken fellowship with God the Father. Note his prayer in the desert prior to the beginning of his ministry, in solitude early in the morning before he encountered people, and in the midst of various circumstances.

Engaging in prayer and with the word of God forms how we engage everyone and everything else:

•Prayer fills us with the Father’s perspective – on Him, on us, on changing circumstances, on everything.
•Prayer brings us back to the priority of the glory of God.
•Prayer cultivates the heart with which Jesus lived amongst people.
•Prayer makes us perceptive to the guidance and movement of the Holy Spirit.
•Prayer points us to the same treasure our journey through Peter’s first letter has been pointing to: the living and lasting hope that is Jesus Christ.
To go about any of the multitude of actions of our day without first intentionally seeking the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and being guided by the word of God, is to offer our broken world far less than the living hope we’ve been given. Without prayer, we have a tendency to become people who react to all people and all things with hopeless words and actions.

May we be people whose first response in seemingly hopeless times is one that flows from our own fellowship with the living and lasting hope of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I hope you’ll come to the word of God with me this morning, as Peter’s first letter to the church points us to our living hope.

Praying for all of us this morning, and in the days ahead!