Some issues are straightforward. You’re for or against. However, more often than not life is more complex, more nuanced. Why? Because as human beings we are complex creatures. That’s just the way God made us. Take it or leave it. Thus, one would hope that for many issues and situations there is space for opinions and decisions that go along a spectrum. Sadly, this is not always the cause.
What’s even worse in a divided world is the manner in which it is easy to demonize and vilify those who do not agree with us. It is easy to dismiss those who do not conform to how we feel the world should be. A divided world is filled winners and losers, hatred, bitterness, and intolerance. How then do you pray?
Here are three guidelines for praying in a divided world:
- Pray from a place of love. When you pray from a place of love you will pray with empathy and compassion, even when you do not agree with another. You will pray recognizing the humanity of others. You will move from anger and hatred as love overcomes and conquers. This will spill over to how you relate to others in daily life. As you pray for people and various situations out of the love that God gives you, you will be more loving in your relationships. You will help to bring healing to a divided world.
- Pray from a place of humility. When you pray from a place of humility, you are signaling that you do not know everything. You do not even understand everything. Moreover, other opinions may have merit and sometimes you may be wrong. You go to the God who knows everything confessing your own selfish bent and confess your need of God’s grace, God’s love, God’s understanding. As you pray, you lift up others, including those with whom you disagree, as people of worth. You go from prayer into the world to value each person and help each move from a divided world to an inclusive world.
- Pray from a place of surrender. When you pray with love and humility, you move to a place of surrender. You put everything in God’s hands and allow God to show you how you should be and what you should do. It’s a logical step as you accept that God loves the world and calls you to love it also. You accept that God knows more than you do. You also accept that God sends you out to serve all people and you place yourself at God’s disposal. You do so without conditions on whom those people should be or what those situations should be. When you pray from a place of surrender you accept the call to move beyond being part of the problem in a divided world.
We see evidence all around us of this divided world in the violence and various inequalities rampant in our midst. We also see it in the responses and reactions to the momentous decisions handed down in the US this past week.
Regardless of where you stand, you can pray in a divided world. Through praying from love, humility, and surrender, you can help to bring healing, inclusiveness and hope. Won’t you pray?
Experiencing the shift to clarity and peace through honest, surrendered, whole whole-hearted praying.
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