Tag Archives: prayer

Making compassion (and prayer) personal and the faithfulness of God

Three years ago yesterday I blogged about the 284 Nigerian girls kidnapped by Boko Haram. I was challenged by the way we often respond/react to things when they touch our own lives directly but find it harder to show compassion for situations that we can’t relate to.

And I was moved and inspired by another blogger’s idea to choose one of the kidnapped girls and pray for her by name. I chose Mairama Yahaya. I have tried to remember her and pray for her as often as I can, but it has been three long and busy years. I have not been as faithful in my prayers as I would have liked to be.

Yesterday, the Nigerian government released the names of 82 girls who have been freed. Mairama’s name is number 10 on the list. God has been faithful in remembering her. He has heard and answered the prayers of her family, friends, and strangers around the world. I am overwhelmed by his faithfulness.

But three years is a long time. My prayers for Mairama must continue as she walks the difficult road ahead of her, as she recovers and re-enters and is reunited with a life she likely thought gone forever.

Mairama doesn’t know me, although I trust we will meet one day when all things are made new, but she has taught me much about God’s compassion and faithfulness, and the challenge they are to my own apathy and faithlessness.

And as I look around at all that is happening in the world today, in Syria, in Yemen, in South Sudan, and in many other places, I am again challenged to consider how I can overcome the apathy and selfishness of my own culture, and find ways to connect to people who are not like me and yet are just like me.

My God is a big and faithful God. Three years from today, who knows what influence our prayers (and actions) might have had in the lives of people who desperately need our compassion if we will start today?

Gethsemane

“Stay here while I go over there and pray.”

 

20140418-121140.jpg“This sorrow is crushing my life out. Stay here and keep vigil with me.”

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“My Father, if there is any way, get me out of this. But please, not what I want. You, what do you want?”

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“Can’t you stick it out with me a single hour? Stay alert; be in prayer so you don’t wander into temptation without even knowing you’re in danger.”

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“There is a part of you that is eager, ready for anything with God. But there’s another part that’s as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire.”

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“My Father, if there is no other way than this, drinking this cup to the dregs, I’m ready. Do it your way.”

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“My time is up, the Son of Man is about to be handed over to the hands of sinners. Get up! Let’s get going! My betrayer is here.”

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“Put your sword back where it belongs. All who use swords are destroyed by swords.”

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“Don’t you realise that I am able right now to call to my Father, and twelve companies – more, if I want them – of fighting angels would be here, battle-ready? But if I did that, how would the Scriptures come true that say this is the way it has to be?”

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“What is this – coming after me with swords and clubs as if I were a dangerous criminal? Day after day I have been sitting in the Temple teaching, and you never so much as lifted a hand against me. You’ve done it this way to confirm and fulfil the prophetic writings.”

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(Words of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Taken from Matthew 26:36-56, The Message)

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