A Reason To Pray
Sometimes, when we fall down on our knees to have a valuable conversation with God, we might wonder how to pray and what to pray for. As I have continued to process the tragic news of the student that was killed at Mt. Tabor High School by another Mt. Tabor High School student, it made me think about the first murder recorded in our scripture, The Holy Bible.
One brother, Cain, killed his own brother, Abel. He, Cain, seemed to lack remorse in the moment as God asked him, "Where is Abel thy brother?" and he responded, "Am I my brother's keeper?" (Genesis 4:9 KJV)
God knew where Abel was. Abel was not only the victim of the first murder. He was also the first man to be received back to God after dwelling on this earth.
God knew what Cain had done. Cain's anger got the best of him and he could not lash out at God who he thought disapproved of him; so, he lashed out at his own flesh and blood, his brother.
Beloved, what if Cain had prayed before he took action? The moment that he became angry, was that not a really good time to pray? Do you think that God would have told him to do something different, to take a different path, to go down a different road? What if Cain had prayed?
My heart aches as I think about a family with a son who will not come back home. I feel their pain as I think about my own two high school students, Preston and Victoria, who made it home but had to experience a lockdown at their school that was miles away and got reports of what was happening on social media raising fear, worry and anxiety for those at Mt. Tabor and wherever the internet received the news and reports.
Tears well up in my eyes as I think about Je'Mon Smith, another son of Zion who is in high school at East Forsyth. I joy over his football exploits. But, my greater joy is in knowing that I baptized him into becoming a son of God through Jesus Christ as guided by the Holy Spirit. In the family of God, I see him as one of my sons too. How my heart would break if I learned that he was a victim of such a senseless act of violence.
But, we can thank God that is was not one of Zion's high school students who were victims; but, what about the families, not one but two that have lost sons?
One son was murdered and another will be tried for the murder committed.
Is that not a reason to pray? We can pray for the thanksgiving of life for our own children. We can pray for the loss of life and the grief that a family will forever have to bear. We can pray for the vigils and memorial services that will be conducted in trying to make sense of something as simple as this, one brother did not keep his other brother and his brother's life in a place in his mind, heart and spirit where his brother's life was just as important to him as his own.
Beloved, Winston-Salem is a really good place to live. For a season, we have been blessed to be able to stand by and watch, read about, and listen to acts of violence around the country and world that failed to penetrate our safe space when it came to school violence of this nature. Now, we have joined the narrative, not vicariously but as true participants.
Is that not a reason to pray?
Beloved, I ask that you pray for the family that has lost a son. Beloved, I ask that you pray for the young man who committed this crime and for his family, another lost son. And, Beloved, I ask that you pray for Winston-Salem and this world where life can be trivialized instead of highly prized as it should be.
If you were looking for a reason to pray, God has provided a reason to pray. Now, pray. I know I have and I know I will.
With a heart heavy with grief in solidarity for those who must learn to walk life in a different way, I pray that God will hear our prayers and show us how to love each other in a much better way.