The Best Thing We Can Do: Week 6 | Day 3

In the face of the degradation of creation, it is easy and understandable to feel overwhelmed and powerless. Br. John Braught encourages us that God comes to us in our darkest hour and in our greatest need. The best thing that we can do right now, in the face of this situation, is pray.

Question: Have you discounted the power of prayer with regard to the restoration of creation?
Share your answer in the comments below or using #5marksoflove
Activity: Date with Creation

Transcript: I think for many people it’s easy to feel powerless in the face of the overwhelming degradation of our environment.  It can be difficult to know what one individual or one group can do.  Most of us recycle, maybe we’re involved in some organization that’s trying to make a difference.  But in the face of the world we live in, and the choices that are being made that are much bigger than any one individual or group, it can seem like an uphill slog a lot of the time.

Now I think all of us definitely need to do whatever we can do to help restore and shape the environment.  But this is a problem that really only God can solve.  It’s much bigger than any one of us, and I think it’s healthy to admit that.  At the end of the day, this is God’s world, and it’s God’s creation, and God will have the final word.

And so I think perhaps the best thing we can do, but not the only thing, but perhaps the best thing we can do is to pray.  Jesus said, “Whatever you ask in faith will be given to you.”  And I think we should take Jesus at his word.  We should take God at his word.  That prayer is powerful.  Prayer can change things.  God comes to us in our darkest hour.  God comes to us in our place of need.  And in no area of our lives are we in greater need than with regard to our relationship to the environment.  We need God to restore the environment, to help us restore the environment, to show us how the environment can be restored.  So the best thing that we can do, but not the only thing, is to pray.

Have you discounted the power of prayer with regard to the restoration of creation?

– Br. John Braught

Question: Have you discounted the power of prayer with regard to the restoration of creation?

Week 6 Activity: Date with Creation
Nurturing a healthy relationship with Creation takes time and intention. This week, schedule a few “dates” with Creation, finding a favorite spot in nature to return to each day. Nurture your relationship with Creation by offering thanks, being present, listening, protecting, and praying in this spot.

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  1. Virginia McLeod on April 6, 2017 at 22:07

    Is it better to pray for divine intervention or to become engaged in human intervention? Perhaps divine intervention and human intervention are essentially the same thing; perhaps God effects change for good in our world through the (God-given) intelligence — and caring — of human beings. For example, if you, or your child, were diagnosed with a serious illness, which would you think would be the most important thing to do (assuming you could only choose the most important): get medical treatment or pray? If you chose prayer, depending solely on supernatural intervention, statistically your outcome would be significantly poorer. (If you were making this decision on behalf of a child, you could even face legal consequences.) But if God works through human beings, the question of human vs. divine intervention would be a false dichotomy. Prayer is beneficial if inspires individuals to become active in working for good in our world.

    • Aliki Barnstone on April 7, 2017 at 17:03

      This is a wonderful way to show that dualistic thinking can set up false choices and divisions. The reasons we pray are many, yet it seems to me that when we think of prayer as merely intersession, then we evade the responsibility that comes necessarily from the free will that God gave us. In prayer, we can ask God to make us mindful when we take action in the world. We can look inside ourselves for the strength and wisdom to be participants in healing the world. To make good on the implicit promise when we pray, “Thy Will be done.”

  2. Carol Bussey on April 5, 2017 at 22:12

    I have not discounted the power of prayer. I pray more than ever now. I will continue to pray and meditate that God’s will be done on earth as in heaven. Thank you for addressing this issue that is of monumental importance to us all who share this beautiful planet with every life form representing the face of God.

  3. Stan on April 4, 2017 at 19:11

    If you are too skeptical to pray to God for the world, then pray to God for yourself, about the world. Prayer is much like forgiveness … it will ease your personal burden about the situation and make you feel better … from the inside out.

  4. RD on April 4, 2017 at 16:38

    What if it isn’t in God’s plan to heal the environment? What if this degradation marks the beginning of the end, as cancer does for so many people? I find it very hard to say, “Your will be done” for this possibility.

  5. Verlinda on April 4, 2017 at 15:35

    I haven’t discounted prayer, but at times I get so busy “doing” good things (recycling. picking up trash, etc.) that prayer becomes an afterthought, rather than a starting point. Thanks for the reminder.

  6. Bryan Cook on April 4, 2017 at 13:00

    I have tried in many ways over 50 years to reduce my environmental footprint and those of my industrial clients; but yes I have forgotten to pray daily for the continued sustainablity of our planet. I will do this as I know that God hears me and can bear witness to the power of His response.

  7. jane tiernan reilly on April 4, 2017 at 10:34

    Thank you Br. John for helping us remember the amazing power of prayer and how praying in hope and expectation of response is life-giving.

  8. Margaret A Fletcher on April 4, 2017 at 10:11

    Well said Br. John. “No” I have absolutely not given up on prayer. I wish we would also not give up on preaching the corrupting effect of greed. Margo

  9. Christina on April 4, 2017 at 09:46

    Yes. It’s much bigger than you and me, but even though we do what is possible for each one of us, I think it is a bit like the cart before the horse. When you put your garbage out, what does it contain? Perhaps food items, but if it’s anything like mine, the other larger amount is packaging. Styrofoam containers, plastic, plastic, plastic; and then there are tins and glass items. Almost everything we buy is packaged. // The days when we went to the corner store, bought some small item which was put in a small paper bag have long gone. // I don’t have an answer – perhaps someone else does. Christina

  10. Rhode on April 4, 2017 at 09:20

    In the 60s I watched people driving throw trash out of car windows thinking nothing of it. Ladybird Johnson called us to task and the highways started to look clean again. A lovely start. Yet, I / we, still consume way too much. We have pollution because we pay for it everyday. Perhaps consuming less, praying more, wanting less stuff and asking God to partner with us can and should change our habits. I am not sure I believe my prayers can change the environment, but I can try to make a smaller footprint. Ezekial 37 was part of the Sunday scripture reading this week and that reading spoke to me for this lesson. God desires us to pray, to speak and believe the impossible is always possible, for the environment, for our loved ones, for a future restoration.
    …..Ez. 37:3 And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”
    So I answered, “O Lord God, You know.”
    4 Again He said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! 5 Thus says the Lord God to these bones: “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. ..

  11. Kristi Leighton on April 4, 2017 at 08:26

    I believe that prayer is only a part of how to solve the problem of our environment. People need to actually DO things, which has to start with a genuine caring and recognition that there IS a problem with the degradation of our planet. I have many friends whom I love dearly that don’t do anything to help the planet, such as recycle. How do I make them do that? I can’t but I can sure pray that their eyes are opened somehow and they realize that what they do has an impact on this Earth. I think this can also be very difficult when our country’s leader does not seem to believe that our planet is facing degradation. I feel he needs continual prayers in the hope that he will see the damage that has been done over time and how we are all responsible for putting our environment back in order.

  12. Tessa Lynn on April 4, 2017 at 08:07

    If we pray for guidance on how to care for creation as well as for others, I believe in the power of prayer, but if we fail to insert ourselves and our own action in the equation, then it becomes a hollow prayer–one of judgment rather than one of humble intercession and petition.

  13. Ruth West on March 10, 2017 at 17:24

    This was a good homily. I agree that it is a much greater problem than one person can solve. However, change begins in the human heart. If one loves God, he loves His creation, and will have a new set of priorities. I think such a person will be very reluctant to pitch trash, to refrain from recycling, to toss trash into the waterways and oceans, to take away the device in a car which limits the amount of carbon monoxide spewed into the atmosphere, etc. I love the little song, “Let There Be Peace on Earth” and let it begin with me. In a similar fashion, let the earth be preserved from destructive practices, and let it begin with me.

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