Beliefnet
Prayer, Plain and Simple

Rumors… and panic in L.A. An email from a friend, who said it came from another friend, and that from another is circulating through Southern California today warning of an imminent earthquake. It reads: “My buddy’s wife works at the seismology dept. in L.A. and they called everyone in today and said get your kids out of school and stock up on water because there is going to be a major quake within 24 hours.”

Credibility problem: There is no real “seismology dept. in L.A.,” and, no one at the leading earthquake research centers of Caltech and the U.S. Geological Survey is claiming responsibility. In fact, they say, earthquake prediction isn’t a reliable science as yet.

So who knows for sure? Rumors have always spread like blazes through social communities of humans. And now with the devices like Twitter and Facebook, our whims and fancies can be blasted out in milliseconds.

“God, help us sort fact from fancy. Calm our fears and give us a bold check on our panic. We’re imaginative and we can use this gift to expect the worst in the future or to expect the best. We thank you for the gift of fear, for it can help us prepare for and avoid danger. If there really is a tiger in the woods, then fear can be helpful. But we can also use the adrenaline of fear in false way. Help us distinguish the difference between a real threat and a false one. Give us peace and truth, and the constant awareness that you are with us, and you are our ultimate protection. As the Psalmist prayers, ‘Though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, yet your unfailing love for us will not be shaken.’ And that today, in the face of rumors and fears and speculations of all sorts, is enough for us. In Jesus we pray peace in the hearts of all people who fear the worst…”

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