Living in the Information Age is all the younger generation knows. They are growing up with devices in hand that literally can provide knowledge on gazillions of topics in mere minutes. What took us hours of research to discover in libraries and encyclopedias in times past, now is available with one click or touch or swipe. Vast amounts of information transferred through cyberspace to anyone who knows how to find it.
That’s where I get stuck. The simplicity of the search engine request opens the flood gates and I am immediately overwhelmed. Which link do I select to gather the knowledge I seek when there are thousands to choose from? Who has time for this?? Occasionally my search results in me having found the information I needed, yet without the ability to recreate this success in the next search. Most often, however, this sense of being overwhelmed paralyzes me into inactivity. If I don’t have someone to help me, I stop searching. I choose a state of ignorance rather than the frustration that leads to the impulse of approaching my computer with a hammer. The frustration of simply not knowing what to do.
More times than not, what I need to do is very simple. So simple, that I wonder why I get so overwhelmed. I am never going to understand how all of it works or absorb all the information available, but I can find what I need and use that information to accomplish my goals. IF I don’t allow myself to become overwhelmed.
Perhaps you can identify. We turn on the television or the computer and are bombarded with the stories and images: Politics. Starving Children. War. Persecution. Crime. Sin celebrated. Vast amounts of information that, as Christians, is supposed to matter to us. Occasionally we see something we can do – we can cast our votes, give to a cause, voice our protests, boycott businesses – all for the purpose of influencing change. But the information comes day after day after day, and if we are not careful we become so overwhelmed that we stop doing anything. To some, we appear callous and disengaged, uncaring and uninformed. But mostly, we are just overwhelmed and frustrated. After our initial prayers over these situations, we don’t know what else to say or what else to do that will have any real impact on these enormous problems.
As I write this, there are Christians being put to death for their faith, children being slaughtered when parents refuse to deny Christ, other families dying from starvation. So as I sit in the comfort and safety of my home and I grieve over their suffering, I ask “What can I do?” As God led me to a familiar scripture, I was ashamed that I had primarily only applied this verse to my own selfish desires:
Now to Him Who, by the action of His power that is at work within us, is able to carry out His purpose and do superabundantly, far over and above all that we dare ask or think – infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes or dreams… Ephesians 3:20
He has promised to take our prayers and do more than we can ever imagine with them. Even the simplest of prayers, uttered with the right motives, are powerfully effective:
…The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available (dynamic in its working). James 5:16
What do I do? There is a simple answer. Pray. I don’t understand why He chose prayer as a tool. I don’t know how He alters circumstances and changes lives using the simple words I utter. I may not see any particular answers to these prayers until I’m in heaven. But I don’t want to forget that He is faithful and has given me a promise that He will do with my prayers infinitely beyond what I can desire or think. So I pray. I continue to pray simple prayers believing they will have a profound impact because of Who I am praying to. Will you join me?