Praying not Politicking

It is not difficult to see why many are claiming that President Obama has been outfooted by President Putin, but does that really matter? The situation in Syria is so grave that any initiative that lessens the death toll or potential death toll is surely worth pursuing. Ridding the country of chemical weapons will take months if not years and will do nothing of itself to stop the killing, but oughtn’t we to do what we can, as we can, without ourselves adding to the carnage? Many people sneer at the idea of praying for peace, but maybe, just maybe, what President Putin has proposed is part of the answer to prayer. We still need to work at it, for prayer is never a magic solution doing away with the necessity for human effort. We shall never know what effect Pope Francis’s letter had on anyone at the G20 summit, just as we shall never know what really motivates any individual (there is often a gap between what is said or done and what goes on inside someone’s head and heart). Prayer can achieve what politicking cannot for the simple reason that it allows God into situations from which we have intentionally excluded him.

We have only to look at what is happening in Sinai to realise how like a tinderbox the whole of the Middle East is, and how terribly people are suffering. If those of us who believe do not respond by spending more time on our knees, what kind of Christians are we?

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6 thoughts on “Praying not Politicking”

  1. Thank you Sister.

    It seems that prayer is working to an extent, because the situation which has arisen came about from a throwaway comment from the US Secretary of State about action not being necessary is Syria gave up it’s Chemical Weapons.

    Somehow, despite everything I see the holy spirit at work here. President Putin immediately jumped upon this idea and put it to the Syrians, who seized on it as a way out.

    Whether this is expediency, or a real intention to stop using them (and that remains unproven) it’s evidence to me of prayers answered, perhaps in an unexpected way.

    As you say, the killing continues, but surely if we persevere in prayer, at some stage there will be peace, even if it’s from the mutual exhaustion of both sides fighting themselves to a standstill.

    If we’re not praying for peace and reconciliation and an alleviation of the suffering of the Syrian people and the whole of the middle east, what are we doing? Whatever it is, it’s insufficient – we need to concentrate the whole of our prayer to this end.

    It just reminds me that the Book of Common Prayer has some powerful prayers to use in these situations:

    For Peace
    “Eternal God, in whose perfect kingdom no sword is drawn but the sword of righteousness, no strength known but the strength of love: So mightily spread abroad your Spirit, that all peoples may be gathered under the banner of the Prince of Peace, as children of one Father; to whom be dominion and glory, now and for ever. Amen”.

  2. I was pondering the fact that we responded to Pope Francis’s call for a day of prayer and fasting and soon after diplomacy came to the fore. As you say, we can never know exactly about causes and motives but I can’t believe there is no connection.

  3. I agree, who cares who gets the credit as long as someone sorts out the mess? It’s not always the most obvious person it seems. I wonder if the Jews were surprised when Cyrus sent them home?

  4. Agree with everything that’s been said above, but would just add that I’m not convinced Pres.Obama necessarily *has* been snookered here. Much ink has been spilt already during his presidency about his willingness and ability to play a long game. Am I being excessively Machiavellian to wonder whether Sec.of State Kerry’s throwaway remark was altogether inadvertently so? As for Pope Francis getting a hearing in the corridors of power – well, Vice-Pres.Biden’s a Catholic, so that’s one likely avenue of access for him. What I am quite sure of is that the Spirit is active in this. Prayer works.

  5. I agree prayer is a powerful tool. God can move hearts. But God often uses us as his hands. Before we rush to war we need to determine who used what. Our CIA has been supplying Syrian rebels with Gadhafi’s old stockpile of weapons. They have used these to kill Christians in Aleppo and Homs. St. James says “what good is it to say to the hungry be warm and filled and then walk away.” I think God is calling us to a more active role. We must help feed and house the Christian refugees fleeing Syria.
    There will always be politics, and geopolitics. The ones who are caught in the middle and suffer seem to be the Christians of North Africa and the middle east. As long as I live in a free country and have a voice I will let my elected officials here it. When they are wrong, and when they are right. God blessed this country with freedom for just such a time as this.

  6. Absolutely. Well said. This should not be about scoring political points, but about resolving a murderous conflict, whether through diplomacy or thoughtful reflection.

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