Praying and Acting
The prayer that follows was found on the internet.
"God of the poor and
oppressed, we look around us and see that the world is not as it should be.
There is war and conflict, families are torn apart, people are uprooted from
their homes, children play among the rubble, farmland lies in ruins, trees are
cut down and rivers are polluted.
It is not new, prayers like this have been spoken in every generation. History is full of wars, crimes, genocide, stupid destruction, foolish so-called development. The Old Testament is full of stories how Israel had to survive amid hostile tribes and in the presence of the superpowers— for example, the Assyrians who 'came down like a wolf on the fold'. The age of the Gospel, too, has been punctuated by assaults of supposedly Christian nations upon each other, and the visits of destroying invaders - at one time the Goths, Visigoths and Vandals. And today we have 'vandalism', small scale but no less destructive. The world situation now may or may not be worse than the past but at least through the media we know more about it.
By contrast, whoever wrote this prayer was looking to see the effect of God's love working in the world. That has not always been immediately obvious through the centuries. Jesus in his parable compared the kingdom of God to yeast working secretly. The results are to be seen in due course. The process is hidden. Jesus also spoke of bad seed being sown among the good. We are very aware of the harvest of evil, and long for Him to come and gather out the 'weeds'. 'Thy kingdom come' is always our prayer.
So we wait for God to act. There is a comfort in knowing that the future is in His care - that our lives are in His care - that we can come to Him with our cares and problems. There was one occasion when Jesus' disciples came to him with a problem. The crowds whom He had been teaching and healing in a lonely place became tired and hungry as the day wore on. They needed food, the disciples told Jesus he must stop the session and send them away to buy food. His reply was surprising — "You give them something to eat". As we know, they thought this was impossible, but with His help they did it.
We need a balance in our life of prayer. We are not expected to save the world, just like that. Faced with global difficulties, faced even with our own difficulties which seem great to us, we place into the Father's hand the things that we can't do. Yet although we do not have to save the world on our own, we are part of His great plan, and each one of us has a tiny part to play. While we watch the yeast of the kingdom working in unexpected ways; while we wait for the final Harvest when evil is sorted out and dealt with; all the while we need to balance coming to Jesus with the problem, and obeying his instructions. "You feed them."
"As we wait for your answer we see a tiny candle flame lit, we see someone buying fairly traded oil, we see someone offering a welcome and hospitality, we feel excitement growing inside us as we realise that we must begin to be the answer to our prayers."