Thoughts and Prayers

 In Pastor Jeff's Blog

Afterward, when Jesus was alone in the house with his disciples, they asked him, “Why couldn’t we cast out that evil spirit?”
Jesus replied, “This kind can be cast out only by prayer.” – Mark 9:28-29

I awoke yesterday to the news of more mass shootings. Twenty dead in El Paso, TX. Nine dead to in Dayton, OH.

“Thoughts and prayers” is not an adequate response to the senseless violence in our nation. Action is required. Advocate for more mental health care. Vote for candidates who reflect your position on gun control. Build bridges of relationship with your neighbors. Demand justice and equity for all. People of faith are called to action.

But I also believe that action isn’t enough. We do need to pray, individually and corporately, for our communities and our nation, because the challenges we face transcend politics and economics, sociology and psychology. They are spiritual, too. They are rooted in our brokenness, our sin.

It’s fashionable today to dismiss the notion that prayer matters in the face of evil. That’s a grave mistake. Evil exists in unjust systems, corrupt politics, and economic inequality. Such evil needs to be combatted through advocacy and action. That’s the prophetic task of the Church.
But evil also exists in the human heart and the spiritual realm. That evil, to quote Jesus, “can be cast out only by prayer.” This, too, is the task of the Church

So, rise up, Church, and act. Do justice. Love kindness. Walk humbly with God.

And…

Rise up, Church, and pray without ceasing.

The battle at hand requires both.

Jeff Marian serves as lead pastor at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, MN.

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