I was scrolling through Facebook over the weekend and saw nothing but support for France in light of the atrocities they’ve had to suffer at the hands of ISIS.
It has been a tremendous display of solidarity. Many people have changed their profile pictures to show the French flag as well as give various messages of support. One such popular message is “Pray for Paris”. I have seen many of my non-Christian or nominal “friends” on Facebook share this meme and it is a wonderful gesture. But this does beg the question, why are those that have little to do with any religion at any other time suddenly have a desire to pray? And what does “Pray for Paris” mean to them?
In Ecclesiastes 3:11 we are told that “God has put eternity in the heart of man,” because of this we (human beings) are all aware of the divine, we are all sentient beings, we are both body and soul. Which is why in times of crisis even the most ardent atheist has the propensity to look up and call for help.
The act of prayer in itself is an acknowledgment of God (otherwise who are you talking to?) The act of prayer assumes that the gap between yourself and our creator has been bridged and that He has the capacity to hear and answer your prayers (and the millions of prayers He receives every minute of every day). Prayer is also an admittance of your own powerless state in a situation and the hope you have in God to help you.
By the very act of praying for Paris, you are making huge assumptions that God will be listening, be empathetic and has the ability and desire to answer you. In affect the very act of prayer is an affirmation of the Gospel.
Well it is only in the Gospel that we are told that in love God became flesh (John 1:14).
It is only in the Gospel that we are told that God walked with us on this cursed earth and is thus empathetic to our trials (Hebrews 4:15).
It is only in the Gospel that we are told that God died for us, and in His death on the cross (2 Corinthians 5:1) “bridged the gap” and reconciled us with Himself (Romans 5:10-11).
It is only in the Gospel that we are told that God mediates for us (1 Timothy 2:5).
It is only in the Gospel that we are told that God listens (1 John 5:14) and He can listen because He lives (Revelation 1:18).
Various religions and cultures pray, but only the Christian Gospel meets the assumptions made by its very act.
Please continue to Pray for Paris and keep praying for all those that are suffering. The Gospel is “the Good News” that you do not have to wait for a crisis to happen to speak to God. In Jesus Christ, God has made a way for us to speak with Him whenever we want to, what a privilege and a blessing. Enjoy it and Embrace it.
“Jesus answered, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6