O my God, lean down and listen to me. Open your eyes and see our despair. See how your city—the city that bears your name—lies in ruins. We make this plea, not because we deserve help, but because of your mercy. Daniel 9:18
The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right; his ears are open to their cries for help. Psalm 34:15
At dinner the other day, we were chatting when my oldest daughter dropped a bombshell: "This time next year I'll have my driver's permit." Shellshocked, I thought she surely had to have her math wrong because there was no way my baby would be hitting the road anytime soon. But, sure enough, it is true, so drivers of New Hanover County be forewarned.
Just for fun, I quizzed her on what the first thing you do before you start the car. Thankfully, her response didn't involve check her makeup out in the mirror or take a cute selfie. She said to unlock the car, which is close, but no the correct answer. The most important thing happens outside your vehicle and involves walking around it to see if there are any obstacles in front of or behind you. This often overlooked step also allows you to notice if there is any damage or dings to your car.
Right now, many of us evacuees are ready to get behind the wheel or the car, hit the gas and head home. We feel helpless watching our community struggle from afar. Because we aren't physically present, we believe there's no possible way to lend a hand, be productive and be part of the change that needs to take place.
But, this is not true. It doesn't matter if we're in Southeastern North Carolina or not. Everyone's first step remains the same, and it should occur before we do anything else - we're called to pray. Just like the steps we take before we get into the car, we often forget or underestimate the power prayer provides us.
It calms our heart.
It focuses our eyes.
It checks our motives.
It prepares our heart.
It grounds us to our source of strength.
It reminds us of our purpose.
It forces us to pay attention to opportunities to make an impact.
Most importantly, it sets the course that leads us to live humble lives centered on serving and loving others.
So, today, slow down, be proactive and pray.
Where is your heart heavy? What weighs you down? Where do you feel restless or anxious? How can you bring these things to God in prayer?
God, thank you for hearing my cry. My burdened spirit finds refuge in You. Calm my heart and focus my eyes. Remind me of Your faithfulness. May I run to You first. In Your name, Jesus Amen.