It was a tragedy that coal miners were trapped in Tallmansville, West Virginia, and an even greater tragedy that news spread of 12 survivors when in fact there was only one. Whenever hard things happen, it is heartwrenching and I join with all those who pray for the families and for better safety for miners in the future.

One of the postscripts of the reporting of this tragedy should be a discussion about prayer. CNN and ABC were among the many media outlets who reported that many were praying for the trapped miners and their families.

Why it it that reactive prayers in time of crisis seem acceptable in our culture, but proactive prayers seem to offend, divide and bring controversy? Why–in seasons like these–do the news networks suddely omit any talk of the need for separation between faith and government, religion and leadership, church and state? If we accept that prayer is a significant part of our nation’s health and heritage, then we could expose our kids to the practice openly and practice it in every area of culture and society.

I pray for the day when prayers for our kids, for education, for our legal system, for our leaders and for every detail of life are as culturally acceptable as those offered in times of national mourning and tragedy such as this–when prayer is a regular part of our mass media and pop-culture, not relegated to just those moments when the worst happens. Until then, I’ll continue to pray for all the families of the men trapped in that mine… and for more of us to pray for God’s power in every part of our culture long before the next tragedy stikes.

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