“My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.” – Desmond Tutu
The phone call feels absurd. We need to make a decision on a new counter top today. Meanwhile, today I’m also to write about Praying for Syria. The decision is mocking me, it’s painful and perplexing. I cannot reconcile inside, the preposterous nature of life; it’s smothering and absurd.
I want shout people are dying while we choose a counter top color! But I hold my tongue, knowing my reaction is extreme and my poor husband deserves better than my irritation.
I quietly explain to him over the phone why I simply don’t care, not today. How can he not be brokenhearted about Syria? I’m humbled by the challenges he faces every day at his work, even while my spirit is quickening with sorrow and grief at the thought of a looming war.
Nothing about this is good.
Bizarrely the world shrinks as I open up my phone. For days my stomach has lurched at the headlines. I am keening for a word that makes sense out of the senselessness. For more than a decade—my youngest son’s entire life—America has been at war in Afghanistan and Iraq. I’m heavy with it.
But our God is bigger that this history, than the current headlines, than the egos and souls of Presidents, than any ruler’s reputation. I feel inside me the pull between an immense spiritual need and the superficiality of my decision this particular morning.
I’ve been reading updates from the Washington Post, Al Jazeera, NYT and BBC, others.
There are horrific pictures if we look, telling dreadful, maddening heart wrenching stories. There is a beautiful letter from Trappist nuns. There are scorching opinions from theologians, pundits, pastors and the blogosphere is afire with #prayforsyria. The human rights organization Amnesty International is calling the human rights crimes in Syria “A moral obscenity that should shock the conscience of the world.” Amy Goodman, of Democracy Now id asking “Why would the U.S. risk killing innocent Syrian civilians to punish the Syrian regime for killing Syrian civilians? The US Pentagon is being ordered to expand targets in Syria. All that, just in the last few days. What will happen next week?
Like everyone, I’m still trying to make sense of a nonsensical and vain decade spent “liberating” Afghanistan and Iraq. Billions spent, millions of lives lost.
Our God is bigger than history. Our God’s timeline is long and these puny men’s egos and reputations are small.
I can’t help but think, God help us to not turn away and pretend this is not happening; right now, even as these words are being crafted. But how does one pray for anything
The answer seems to be TO SEE IT.
See it every day in which this scenario plays out. We have to face the bloodshed, the pain, the loss of lives and the injustice. My simple prayer is God help us to SEE every day.
This is my prayer:
“The King’s heart is a stream of water in the hands of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will.” Proverbs 21:1
Oh God, the Holy One—Hear our cries.
Your Spirit groans with the words we don’t know how to express.
For Syria, help our hearts to catch up with the headlines, the pundits, and the opinionators.
So much noise, too much happening too fast. We pray against war fatigue. We pray we’d continue to be shocked by the headlines.
And that a holy horror would sink in, driving us to our knees.
God in your mercy, as we SEE images and headlines may they help us to know how to pray.
Help us to weep with what makes you weep.
Help us to see and to hear the cries, of orphans and refugees
as we sit in the safety and comfort of our homes, today.
And tomorrow, the next.
Keep our eyes open. Keep our hearts soft.
Keep us all from the need to appear strong—forgive us for arrogance.
Help us to be weak with AWARENESS of our need for you.
We pray for decision makers to be wise, and gentle, and humble. To be slow to speak and even slower to act.
These are not empty words to a Holy and mighty God who bends the rivers of our hearts as easily as you whisper into the ears of giants and rulers.
We pray courageously for humble leaders open to peace.
We pray naïvely and shamelessly for peace.
We pray daily, hearts in agreement:
For soft hearts.
For seeing eyes.
Lord help us to pray for peace believing all things are possible.
Holy God, bend us into peace makers who can hold our tongues.
Whisper reconciliation into the ears of world changers and everyday folk.
May we each live daily free of bitterness, anger, and revenge, filled with generosity and gratitude.
Forgive us when we are proud and humble us
in order to hear you,
to see the people of Syria,
to believe that you are at work on a peaceful outcome.
God have mercy on us all.
I’m over at SheLoves with a prayer one of 25 days of prayer for Syria.
Please come pray with us. Prayer emails will be sent (Monday through Saturday), written by SheLoves contributors, on behalf of the people of Syria. There is very little that qualifies us to write these prayers, except willing and humble hearts and an audacity to go and stand in this most divided place. Subscribe here.