Sunday, after waking to the news that there was a another mass shooting
I immediately said a tiny prayer for the families affected by the senseless attacks that has left 29 people dead and even more injured. Of course my social media time-lines highlighted memes and lot’s of comments,
many asking what can we do? And is it enough to just pray? I took out my phone and reached out to Pastor Joshua Haire. I sent a text as I knew he was at church. Without hesitation, he responded to my question and that
of many others right now. Does Prayer “Really” Change Things? Read his response below:
Is prayer enough…
the question many are asking concerning the opinions of some who commented on the most recent shootings, one at a Walmart store in El Paso, Tx and another at a popular bar / restaurant in Dayton, Ohio just hours apart. And it’s understandable that people of faith in God Jehovah as I am, would call for prayers for such disturbing incidents; prayer for guidance as to how to understand why and to stop such violent acts; prayers for victims and their families suffering senseless loss of loved ones.
But if the scriptures have taught us anything about prayer (with faith in Lord God that must accompany our prayers), it is that faith without works (actually doing something) is dead, being alone, James 2: 14-26. And I know how mind-twisting it is determining what to do to get a handle on such “hate.”
Most violent crimes, particularly these senseless mass shootings apparently targeting people of color, are perpetrated by young people. Six of the nine victims killed in Dayton were Black. The shooter’s sister, White, was also killed which to some suggests motive. Who was the shooter’s sister with? The manifesto of the 21year old male who killed 20 people in El Paso revealed his disgust with the immigration activity at our southern border. Dozens of people killed because of their race! So, the answer we people of faith should be seeking through our prayers is to the age-old question – how do we Americans combatracism, plain and simple.
Here is my take as a middle-aged male, a parent and a Pastor:
1. Call “racism” just that, Stop excusing racial hatred by renaming it or reasoning it psychologically, medically or religiously. America must accept that she is a nation ridden with hatred among the races before, during and even after the Civil War that was to “free” her to become One Nation under God.
2. Racism must be “taught” to be the hatred that divides Americans, Matthew 12:25. Our children must be taught the ills of hating people because of their color, not just at home but throughout the village. And not just with words but with actions, people living together in love under the umbrella of equality. That requires interest and effort on all American’s part.
3. Governments (local state and fed) must stop dividing Americans through the census of race, economics and ethnicity. Why ask what race any American is if we are all One Nation… under God who made us all from one family.
4. Our judicial system must stop charging and sentencing based upon racial bias.
5. And our churches must stop being one of the most segregated organizations existing today, Galatians 3:28. Our Nation was built on the idea “In God we trust.” But prayer alone, I believe, is merely a cop-out (something to do when you’re really not willing to do something).
The soul of America is at stake now. Are we the Nation that believes – In God we trust or In ourselves we trust? The absence of God always yields chaos.
Is prayer enough? What would we pray for, God to rid us of all weapons / guns. Would we pray that He robotically change American’s hearts into love for and acceptance of one another? Well, sadly, He ain’t doing that. But He told us to, John 13:34. And He promises that if we resist the devil, resist evil, that evil will flee, James 4:7. Of course that requires submitting ourselves to God.
All over the news people have been talking about dispelling hate and embracing love as the answer to racial violence. Those young men who killed so many recently and all the others who have done the same down through the years, were not born haters. They learned to hate. The question America must ask herself is – from whom did they learn it?
So, should we continue praying, of course. But I believe America will never become a nation of the people, by the people and for the people (as President Lincoln wrote) until she has a change of heart and puts into practice the acceptance of all Americans as one people, one nation under God, Psalm 33:12.
The views expressed are those of J. Haire and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cumulus Media. Pastor Haire’s daily message can be heard inside The Praise Party on Magic 106.9