The questions of how should Christians respond to a crisis, is a big one. Crisis’ take so many different forms, with new types of atrocities grown out of a developing world full of new technologies and ideas. By crisis, I’m talking here today about tragedies, disasters: the bushfires in Australia, a terror attack on the streets of London, a mass shooting in America, a tornado, hurricane, tsunami, volcano, destroying homes and lives. It’s an event that sends shockwaves around the world, whether it directly impacts our lives or not.
Looking at the diversity of these events, it may seem foolish to lump them all together. To suggest that there is just one answer to so many different problems. But, as Christians, we do know that ultimately there is only one answer to any problem. There is only one route to victory. There is only one hope for this fallen world: God.
No matter what other actions we feel we could take, it all comes back to God, and to bringing these situations before him in prayer. These prayers may lead us into action, but prayer is where we should begin as it allows our actions to be led by God.
How should Christians respond to a crisis? – In prayer.
Pray for those who have been affected
Usually, the first thought in our mind when we see a crisis on the news, is for the people who have been affected. Those who have been injured, those who are mourning the loss of loved ones, those who have lost their homes or possessions, those who have been separated from their friends and families. Pray for peace and comfort for these people in their time of need, pray for God’s presence with him, and pray for him to meet their needs amidst the crisis, whatever those needs might be.
Pray for protection
A crisis often triggers fear. Fear of the same thing happening again. A terror attack often sees the nations terror threat level increased, more police and security is put in place, discussions begin about whether this event could have been prevented. A natural disaster will see scientists trying to uncover the causes, evaluating whether aftershocks will occur; engineers assessing damage to buildings and infrastructure. In the same way, when Christians respond to a crisis, we want to pray for protection, over the people affected, and over the rest of the world. Pray that God will prevent such a crisis from occurring again, and that everyone will be safe as they recover from the trauma they have experienced.
Pray for those who have come to help
Often, a crisis is something that really highlights the bravery and hard work of public services such as fire fighters, police, and medical staff. People standing in the face of danger to help those in need. We see stories of incredible courage, and of great skill and teamwork, and these too are people who need our prayers. Pray that God will guide them, give them courage, and protect them as they work in dangerous situations. Pray that he will give them wisdom to see the most effective ways to help.
Pray for leaders
Times of crisis are times when good leadership is greatly needed to bring us out of chaos. Pray for politicians and political leaders, that they will lead wisely and lovingly, not using a crisis for personal or political gain, but working to unite their people to build a stronger community. Pray for religious leaders, and for parents leading their families, that they can set a godly example for how Christians respond to a crisis, reaching out to help those in need in any way that they can and bringing the situation before God in prayer.
Pray for the uncertainty of the future
The time following a crisis can be hugely uncertain. There will be people hunting for their loved, not sure if they are dead or alive. There will be the uncertainty of where they might live now, or when can they return to their home. Children may be left orphaned, or parents childless. For many people, the future will be a complete mystery, unfathomable. Let’s pray into this uncertainty, that God’s presence will be felt by all of these people, and that even when everything else is uncertain they will know that God is a constant in their lives, always with them no matter where they are or what they are facing.
Pray for healing
A crisis is often only on the news for a short time, but even when the cameras have moved away, the people affected will still be left reeling for a long time. Pray for those who are healing from physical injuries, and for the medical staff who are treating them. Pray for healing for those who have been affected emotionally, and psychologically, that this experience will not be something that holds them bound in fear. Pray for those who are mourning, that they will find peace and comfort.
Pray for the healing of divisions, that people can come together to heal as one people. Pray for the healing of the place, for rebuilding of homes, and repairs to the damage caused, that these places can be rebuilt quickly and safely to ensure security and comfort to those who return. Pray for healing for God’s creation, for animals and plants, habitats and food sources.
Pray for your response
I mentioned earlier that often our prayers can push us into action, that God may stir up something within us that drives us to help in a practical way. Take time to ask God how you can help, and listen to where he is leading you. You may be called to help financially, or to volunteer in some practical capacity, to raise awareness of a situation, or simply to keep on praying for that which God places upon your heart. Then, when you hear God’s leading, obey.
A crisis situation, especially one taking place across the world, can so easily leave us feeling helpless. But as Christians there is always a way for us to respond. Jesus has already won the victory, and we know that one day no more crisis’ will ever take place. Until that day, we are called to bring them before God in prayer. To be faithful and to continue praising him through it all.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:6-7