When the world is going through troubled times we sit at home watching the news and we feel powerless to help. The problems seem so massive that we feel that they are outside of our hands – that there is nothing we can do to help.
If we give $100 to the Red Cross, what difference will that make? They’re talking billions of dollars needed for recovery in Japan so is there even any point us giving $100?
Your money will help of course, but there are so many desperate problems out there in the world, and our financial resources are not bottomless.
What else can we do?
Often, in a genuine heartfelt gesture, we update our Facebook with some words of support for the people suffering. I did this myself. This is a nice gesture. But the reality is that it won’t save a life.
It will make you feel a little better, especially if some of your friends ‘like’ it. It may improve your image amongst your friends; they may see you as a caring person really trying to make a difference in the world. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, quite the opposite, it’s positive – but what difference have you actually made to the lives of those suffering?
Let’s be honest – nil.
The person trapped under rubble, desperately waiting and hoping to be found by rescue workers – your Facebook status won’t help them.
The doctors and nurses in a hospital desperately trying to save the lives of the huge numbers of injured in the aftermath of a disaster – your Facebook status won’t help them.
The people running a shelter for refuges desperately trying to source food to feed the thousands of people who are turning up at their shelter every day – your Facebook status won’t help them.
What will help them? Your prayers might.
Your prayers might give that person trapped under rubble a little more strength to hold on a little longer. They might inspire the rescue workers to have one more look in that building the person is trapped in.
Your prayers might give hospital staff a little more strength to work a little harder and longer so that they can save more lives in the aftermath of a disaster.
Your prayers might inspire people around the world to give their money and resources to the victims of a disaster.
Your prayers might just do these things. You’ll never know the power of your prayers. You’ll never know exactly what they do, but they WILL do something. As Mahatma Gandhi said:
Prayer is not an old woman’s idle amusement. Properly understood and applied, it is the most potent instrument of action.
I’ll repeat that in case you missed it:
Prayer is not an old woman’s idle amusement. Properly understood and applied, it is the MOST POTENT INSTRUMENT OF ACTION.
Go and pray now.
(If you feel so inclined you might also like to donate to support the work of the Red Cross in helping the people of Japan, or whichever other humanitarian disaster you feel inspired to support, by finding your local Red Cross on this list of international Red Cross websites.)