911 Responder: “911 Where is your emergency?”
Caller: “She’s hit! She’s still breathing….She’s still got a pulse……We got one dead….There’s multiple shot….”
911 Responder:“Sir, How many people are injured?”
Caller: “There’s bodies everywhere. We need more than one ambulance.”
911 Responder: “Oh my God!”
The last few days we have all been caught up in the unfolding drama of this 911 call. Last Saturday morning, January 8, an apparently mentally ill young man, shot Tucson Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford in the head, at a public meeting with her constituents in a Safeway parking lot. He then opened a barrage of gunfire into the small crowd, leaving 6 dead and 13 injured.
As more details emerge the victims’ identities come into focus, and our hearts reach out to them. Many of us want to do more, but feel sidelined and distant. Realistically, how can we help in a situation like this?
In our world of global communications, we are frequently brought into intimate contact with tragedies. One year ago, we witnessed the massive earthquake in Haiti that left over 200,000 dead and 2 million homeless. Nightly this past summer, we watched multiplied thousands of gallons of oil spill into the gulf of Mexico, killing marine wildlife and polluting hundreds of miles of pristine coastlines. And for the rest of our lives, most of us will remember the iconic images of hurricane Katrina’s destruction and the crashing twin towers of 9-11.
While we can contribute to relief agencies, we are often left feeling helpless, thinking that there must be something else we can do. I want you to know that there is something very powerful you can do, whether it’s public events, or more personal situations like the divorce of good friends, or a relative or friend being diagnosed with a serious disease.
You can intercede in prayer, a divine 911 call.. Intercession is bringing petitions in prayer on behalf of others to a loving, concerned God. It is requesting God to comfort and strengthen people, provide for needs and re-establish justice in situations where it is being violated. But does it really make a difference?
Let me share two documented examples from history. Every year at Thanksgiving, we remember the original feast day celebrated by the Pilgrims and native Americans in 1621. But few of us know about the famine that followed. In 1622 the harvest was poor, and in 1623 a severe drought threatened the existence of the colony. The Pilgrims set aside a day to pray, and by day’s end, clouds appeared. The next morning began 12 days of continuous moderate rain, just enough to revive the crops and turn their situation around.
My second example is more recent. In 1985, four churches in Leipzig, communist East Germany, began holding weekly prayer meetings for the reunification of their country. Then they lit candles and peacefully walked through the town. Despite repeated threats from city officials and the police, they faithfully gathered to pray and walk for the next four years. Their numbers grew and by fall 1989, 500,000, nearly the entire population of Leipzig, prayed and walked. The movement spread to East Berlin, where a million prayed and walked. The final result? The communist regime fell and the Berlin wall was dismantled without a shot being fired.
Intercession changes things! God values intercession so much that the prophet Ezekiel tells us God constantly searches for those who will stand in the gap and intercede. (Ezekiel 22:30) So know there is more you can do and begin to intercede!
Come join us this Sunday at 10:30 AM to continue this discussion. The sermon title of our guest speaker, James Goll, is “History Belongs to the Intercessors,” part 3 in our series on “The Reformer’s Pledge.”