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Sermon: Praying During Tragedy

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Praying During Tragedy

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • November 19, In the year of our Lord, 2017

Scripture Reader and Reading: Dan Calvert – Second Chronicles 20.5–12


  1. Tragedies happen.
    1. Silence is taken.
    2. Prayers are made.
      1. Someone blasts the silence.
      2. Another mocks the prayers.
  2. During tragedy some see prayer
    1. as a waste of time
    2. when you could have been working on a solution,
      1. the opposers of prayer say.
      2. You never hear this from a God-believer.
  3. Some in the government will ask the country to pray during tragedies.
    1. Usually the prayers or moments of silence are brief.
    2. They just last a matter of seconds, but
      1. they ask the nation to pray.
      2. However, those seeking an advantage against Christianity,
        1. yell that prayer does no good, and
        2. will say that during this recent church shooting
          1. the people were in prayer.
          2. To secularists that proves that prayer does nothing.
    3. It is like, if we had not spent 60 seconds on prayer and silence,
      1. we could have worked out a solution,
      2. now we never will because we were not taking action.
  4. I ask myself: Don’t these critics stop to eat, or take a break, or whatever?
    1. Of course, they do.
    2. Well, why weren’t they doing something about preventing another tragedy?
      1. I wish that more people in the public eye
      2. would call upon the citizens of our nation to pray.
    3. The people against praying during tragedies do not understand some things.
  5. They do not understand
    1. what it means to live by faith,
    2. what it means to pray during suffering, and
    3. what it means to have God in your life.


  1. Living by Faith
    1. Hebrews 11 shows
      1. saints suffering and
      2. others victorious
        1. although both groups
        2. lived by faith,
        3. prayed and
        4. had God in their lives.
    2. Look at the list that the writer of Hebrews 11 provided us,
      1. showing some people overcoming tragedy and
      2. others who were overcome by tragedy,

        32 And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: 33 who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. 35 Women received their dead raised to life again. Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. 36 Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented— 38 of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth (Hebrews 11.32–38).
        1. Why did some stop the mouths of lions, such as Daniel, but
        2. others were sawn in two, such as Isaiah?
          1. I do not know.
          2. Here is the thing,
            1. living by faith does not guarantee that you shall never suffer.
            2. Sometimes your faith might bring on tragedy.
              1. Has anyone ever heard of Jesus of Nazareth?
              2. Yet, secularists reason:
                1. If there is a God, He should stop all violence.
                2. Violence occurs.
                3. Therefore, God does not exist.
  2. Praying During Suffering
    1. Prayer does not mean you will never suffer.
      1. As I asked about faith,
      2. so I ask about prayer.
        1. Where is it written
        2. that prayer should stop all violent men?
    2. The people of Hebrews 11 who lived by faith,
      1. also lived by prayer.
        1. Yet, some of them overcame evil men and
        2. evil men overcame some of them.
      2. Hebrews 11 is in The Book
        1. that teaches us to pray, but
        2. it also shows that persecution awaits us.
    3. For example, in Matthew 5,
      1. as Jesus began His ministry,
      2. He was already saying
        1. that persecution would come to His followers,
        2. who would also be people of prayer,

          10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
          For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
          11 Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you (Matthew 5.10–12).
          1. Why did He not teach us to pray always,
          2. for then we will not suffer at the mouths and hands of the evil?
    4. By the way, First Peter 4 shows the opposite
      1. of what prayer-hating secularists argue,
      2. that suffering from evil men
        1. does not speak against God’s existence or involvement in our lives,

          14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter (1Pe 4.14–16).
          1. Peter said that suffering, although followers of Christ,
          2. means that God is with you!
            1. Therefore, do not speak against God when men hurt you, but
            2. glorify God.
    5. The prayer-haters speak as though
      1. it is either pray or do something.
        1. The Bible does not teach
        2. that either you pray or you act.
      2. No, it teaches us to do both.
        1. Luke 6 shows Jesus giving Himself to prayer
          1. as even few of His followers have ever done,

            12 Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God (Luke 6.12).
          2. Yet, He filled His life and the world with good things.
        2. Mark 1 shows a habit of His and
          1. what He did after this habit,

            35 Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed. 36 And Simon and those who were with Him searched for Him. 37 When they found Him, they said to Him, “Everyone is looking for You.” 38 But He said to them, “Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth” (Mark 1.35–38).
          2. He prayed, then He went into action and His actions have turned millions away from evil.
    6. Who has done more
      1. to teach against violence,
      2. to command against violence, and
      3. to make laws against violence,
        1. than Jesus of Nazareth?
        2. Prayer did not keep Him from doing something about evil.
          1. Prayer moved Him to act against it.
    7. I know a man who knew that evil men were coming after him to kill him.
      1. Do you know what he did?
      2. He prayed about it.
        1. His prayer did not stop them.
        2. They accosted him,
          1. beat him,
          2. slapped him,
          3. spit on him,
          4. whipped him,
          5. then tortured him to death.
            1. Yet, one of his friends tried to stop it, but
            2. this man rebuked his friend.
              1. The man knew that sometimes we have to suffer
              2. for what we believe in,
                1. although we have prayed
                2. that we might not suffer.
      3. You should be glad
        1. that this man suffered violence at the hands of evil men, for now
        2. you are able to go live in a country far better than this one.
  3. God in Your Life
    1. The prayer-despising secularists
      1. want prayer removed from all public life and
      2. they certainly do not want politicians praying, yet
        1. when evil proliferates
        2. they blame God for it.
          1. They say that prayer does not help, because
          2. the recent mass killing in a Texas church
            1. happened while people were worshiping God and
            2. they would have engaged in prayer, but
              1. God did not stop raging evil man.
    2. Again I ask, Where is it written
      1. that with God in your life,
      2. you should never have to suffer as a victim of crime?
    3. I have already shown you passages from the Bible
      1. that faith and prayer do not mean evil will flee from your life.
      2. Job 1 shows that, truly, the evil one will search you out,
        1. if you make it a point to acknowledge God in your life.
        2. There was a man who
          1. did everything right because he
          2. had God in his life.
            1. However, that did not please man’s chief adversary,
            2. who approached God with this challenge,

              8 Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?” 9 So Satan answered the LORD and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing? 10 Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11 But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!” 12 And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.” So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD (Job 1.8–12).
      3. Then even Job questioned why God let evil into his life.
        1. His friends rebuked him for saying such things.
        2. Later, God appeared to Job with a series of questions
          1. that Job could not answer, but
          2. showed that God knows what He is doing.
      4. God in Job’s life
        1. did not mean evil men would not attack him,
          1. as different raiding parties
          2. stole his livestock and killed his workers.
        2. It meant that Satan would test how much it meant to Job to have God.
    4. There was another man whose life was all about God.
      1. This man ate, walked, and slept God.
      2. He lived by faith.
      3. He prayed without ceasing.
        1. Of God in his life, this man said,

          34 “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work” (John 4.34).
        2. At his death, as he suffered excruciating pain
          1. in his heart,
          2. in his body, and
          3. in his soul,
            1. he asked,

              “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
            2. Yet, no answer came from heaven.
      4. He knows the devastation that evil men can work in your life.
        1. He understands where you have been in your journey.
        2. He understands your questions that do not have answers.


  1. He just wants you to trust him with your life.
    1. He made it to heaven.
    2. If you trust him with your life,
      1. you will go where he went.
      2. He went to a place where evil men can no longer kill people.
  2. There is a God in heaven.
    1. Someday He will send this man back to earth and
    2. this man will bring all his followers back with him to heaven, but
      1. he will send the evil men of whom you are afraid
      2. into a place where their suffering will never cease.
  3. This man is Jesus of Nazareth.
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