Beliefnet
Prayer, Plain and Simple

A line of fast-moving storms hit Chicago today with hurricane force winds. The system, which yesterday produced dozens of tornados in Minnesota – and three known fatalities – blew into the Windy City with equal torrential force.  The line of storms, organized as a ‘bow echo’ on radar, blasted Chicago Land with a wide swath of 55 miles per hour gusts.

“God, we pray for all those in the path and the wake of these powerful storms in the Upper Midwest. Comfort those in Minnesota who suffered from this blast of violent weather yesterday. Particularly bless those in the town of Wadena, where much of the city was damaged or destroyed. As the storm moves Eastward, give individuals prudence and wisdom to keep themselves and their loved ones safe. Give officials sound judgment. And, yes, we go so far as to pray, as Jesus has before us, ‘Peace, storm, be still!’ We pray this all in Jesus’ own name…”

 

U.S. geologists and Pentagon officials have discovered vast mineral wealth in Afghanistan, enough to turn the devistated country into one of the world’s most lucrative mining centers. Gen. David, commander of the United States Central Command said, “There are a lot of ifs, of course, but I think potentially it is hugely significant.” Americans discovered what they say is $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, including iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium, according to the report. Afghan experts are upping that estimate to $3 trillion. One Pentagon memo said Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium,” a key raw material in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and cell phones.

While this could be a great blessing to Afghanistan; it could also very easily become a curse. Wealth can bring out our best as human beings – dynamic infrastructures, education for everyone, life-saving health care, breakthrough technology. But wealth can also bring out our worst – war, corruption, conspiracy, personal obsessions.

So while we can be thankful that Afghanistan may now have a “ticket” to effectively enter the civilized world, it may also drive a new rush for control of this very broken nation. They need God. They need a miracle.

“God, thank you for filling the earth with treasures of beauty and practical use. You have deposited great treasures in the land of Afghanistan. This war torn nation has suffered much. And war, great pain and poverty have held citizens there in terrible bondage. Now that these deposits of minerals have been discovered we pray that you will guard Afghanistan from greater turmoil. Instead of triggering greed and corruption may this discovery bring prosperity to every Afghan. May they also come to discover the true treasure of life – a relationship with you, the One who created them, their land, and the wealth within it, and within them! In Jesus…”

A Southern California earthquake with a magnitude of 5.7 shook things up Monday. It shook me up. I’m visiting Los Angeles and on sixth floor of the hotel where I’m staying, yes, it shook me up!

The 5.7 magnitude tremor hit around 9:30 PDT with a center 70 miles east of San Diego. Several small quakes followed near the US-Mexican border, with sizes of 1.0 to 4.1. It was enough to shake up things at San Diego Padres’ Petco Park. The stadium started to shake a bit right after David Eckstein had grounded out in the eighth inning and play halted. The PA announcer came on to tell everyone it was an earthquake but to stay calm. The Jays eventually won the game 6-3.

Last night’s quakes were all aftershocks from the 7.2 earthquake that hit Mexico’s Baja Cali peninsula on April 4th. The Southern California earthquakes last night hit

“God, the earth is yours. You have made this planet and you own and steward it your own powerful hand. We pray and ask for peace today following the earthquake in Southern California. We ask that you would ease the stress and fear in the millions of people who were awakened by the tremor last night. May they give their fears to you, and may you give them supernatural rest in return. We also pray that you would ease any tension building in the earth itself. We know that faultlines do build up pressure and that earthquakes are a natural result. But we ask that by your grace you would bring small releases of these pressures and that shifts in the rifts would be gentle and not destructive. May your peace dominate today, in the hearts of human beings and in the heart of the earth itself! As you said, Jesus when you were on the planet… ‘Peace, be Still!'”

 

 

The ‘Touchdown Jesus’ statue in Ohio was engulfed in flames after a lightning strike late last night.  The six-story-tall depiction of Jesus Christ with his arms raised stood in front of Solid Rock Church along Interstate 75 in Monroe, just north of Cincinnati. It burned to the ground during a thunderstorm. The “King of Kings” statue which had stood since 2004 was made of plastic foam and fiberglass over a steel frame. The frame is all that remains.

Touchdown Jesus.jpg

What’s amazing about this is not that it happened – lightning hits and burns things every day in summer thunderstorm season. What baffles me is our constant human urge to “make something” of these events, to reach and grope and assign some “higher” meaning to acts of nature. That was my first reaction, honestly. I saw this story this morning and I thought, “What does it mean?” I want to say, “accidental” of course. But something in me grapples for more. A few million people must be saying the same because this story is the hottest link on Google this morning. Amazing, isn’t it. After all the efforts to debunk Jesus and faith and the Bible and the entire Christian faith, we’re still drawn to stories that touch the topic, even ones that might signal its demise. If there’s a meaning behind “Touchdown Jesus” burning down I guess it’s this: The fact that the story matters is a sign itself!

“Jesus, you matter. One day every knee will bow and every tongue confess that you are truly Lord of Lords! The fact that we notice a lightning strike on an image depicting this truth – and in some corners chuckle about the irony of it – shows that deep down we know, we know it is true! You are King of Kings!”