Proactive - "to prepare for an intervention on an expected occurrence or situation, especially a negative or difficult one; acting on an issue before it become a larger issue"
The recent news over the tragedy in Paris has created quite a trending topic with the hashtag #PrayforParis. It's refreshing and beautiful to see the pictures with prayer in the hashtag because we all know that lately, prayer, particularly public prayer has become a controversial topic in the western part of the world. Our instinct is to react with prayer when we witness or experience tragedy that is beyond our understanding. Our differences become meaningless because during those terrifying moments in time, we become human, not a race, culture or class. We become the organic part of ourselves, just human beings experiencing a disturbance in the world that seems insurmountable so we call on that on that power to intervene and comfort us and those around us. No matter how much we try to suffocate that instinct, it eventually makes its way to the surface through witnessing and/or experiencing suffering. Our inner spirit cries out when in shock and awe, like an independent teen girl that can’t wait to get her driver’s license only to run into her father’s arms trembling in fear after her first car accident.
It sounds quite familiar. Like the Israelites in the Old Testament. The nation was formed through struggle, sin and lots of falling down and getting back up. It took quite a while for them to get it together. There were no laws, no order, no government and such to keep the nation in line to create a fair and balanced land for the people. It was pretty chaotic for a while and that is why Moses created the Ten Commandments. But over time, the same laws and commandments that regulated and guided the people from merely surviving to thriving became the same laws and commandments that became an annoyance. So they began to pick apart the law. The legalists created more laws but that just gave law breakers more laws to break. The law breakers attempted to amend and rationalize the law but that gave too much room for compromise.
As a result, the laws and commandments became distorted by creating their own litmus scale on morality. The Ten Commandments soon became Fifty Shades of Grey. One party was too conservative and the other was too liberal and governance was chosen based on whoever could win the best argument. Over time, a war of ideology broke out and they fought over the gifts and forgot about the gift giver so their prayers would fizzle away. They became so divided that they literally became two kingdoms which sent a message to their enemies that they were no longer united. So when tragedy struck their land with war, famine, natural disasters and exile, they humbled themselves, abandoned their opinions and prayed. Even when it became illegal in Babylon to pray, Daniel still prayed.
The western world sounds eerily similar to Israel. We were once proactive in our prayers and followed laws because they worked. But as generations came and went, opportunities arose and the economy thrived, making us complacent and comfortable. As our knowledge grew, we became prideful and arrogant becoming ensnared with debates, political rhetoric and even trending topics. Soon we were firing a football coach for praying with his team of fatherless boys, suspending a valedictorian for thanking God in her graduation speech and then removing the Ten Commandments from the capital of our nation. But when tragedy hits? It's like being scared when someone jumps out at you, you yell “Oh my God!” or “Jesus!” Our soul only knows one thing when it feels threatened or in harms way; to call on the name of the one and Holy God. But that is reactive prayer.
God desires us to be proactive just as much as He desires us to be reactive. Being proactive in our prayers can prevent much of the suffering that we or others experience because it calls on God to intervene. Proactive prayer is vital because sometimes reaction is not possible. We are not promised tomorrow. We may not survive the tragedy that could have been prevented through proactive prayer. Or we may lose our lives but miss the opportunity to confess the name of Jesus and repent to prepare for that fork in the road we must all take when we take our last breath. Could you imagine what a missed opportunity that would be? It happens every single day.
Proactive prayer is to call on God before an event takes place without considering if it will offend someone or cost us something because in the end the only thing we should be in fear of losing is our soul and its attachment to God and others.
It is the difference between getting hit by a bullet and being grazed by a bullet. Grace is the grazed bullet.
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Romans 10:14)