A Prayer for the New Year

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Source: OINOS Educational Consulting

By Frank Marangos, D.Min., Ed.D., FCEP

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“But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, You are my God. My times are in your hands!”
Psalm 31.14-15

On Christmas morning, a motor home exploded outside an AT&T building on a downtown street in Nashville, Tennessee. Police characterized the incident as an “intentional act of terrorism” in the heart of America’s country music capital.

The fiery blast destroyed a number of other vehicles parked nearby, shattered windows and heavily damaged several adjacent buildings, sending a pall of black smoke into the sky that could be seen for miles. The mayor said a total of 41 businesses were damaged.

The  Christmas holiday and prevailing COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings helped to keep injuries to a minimum.  While investigators found possible human remains nearby, authorities are uncertain as to whether or not anyone was inside the recreational vehicle when it exploded. No explanation as to a possible motive is yet to be determined.

The incident is further complicated by a computerized pre-recorded female voice emanating from the vehicle that warned that a bomb would detonate in 15 minutes.   The eerie message said: “This area must be evacuated now. This area must be evacuated now. If you can hear this message, evacuate now. If you can hear this message . . . evacuate now!”

There are many voices of warning in life. Some small and with temporal consequences. Others may be significant and with permanent consequences. While many warnings are ignored, some – like Nashville’s early morning Christmas voice – must be seriously heeded.

We are, indeed, living in uncertain times. I can think of no greater voice to heed, therefore, than Jesus’ warning to his disciples. “Pray always,”  he told them, “and never give up” (Luke 18:1). While challenges associated with the current pandemic are great, vigilant prayer can, therefore, help us navigate the difficulties by reminding us of our Lord’s Eternal Presence.

God promises to deliver those who remain constant and persistent in prayer. In many instances, His deliverance may be visible and immediate (2 Tim 3:11; 4:17) while, in other instances, God’s deliverance may be gradual and/or unseen. What is important to note is that our Lord weeps when any of His children should perish in life’s fiery blasts.

Let us then pray for the suffering and those that may ignore life’s warnings.

Let us pray that the Lord will remove fear, anxiety, and uncertainty from the hearts of our respective family members.

Let us offer words of praise and safekeeping for the compassion and healing touch provided by doctors, nurses, and caregivers.

Let us pray for peace and understanding.

Finally, like the psalmist quoted above, let us place our hope and trust in a God whose “times are in His hands!”

A Blessed New Year to all
my Frankly Speaking readers!
(Fr.) Frank Marangos
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