Pray for Paris.
Don’t pray for Paris.
Pray for Paris.
Don’t pray for Paris.
How tiring the past few weeks of social media have been!
The citizens of Paris lost over 140 friends and family members on the evening of November 13th, as terrorists took to the city’s northern suburbs in an array of violence that left so many lives forever changed. The entire world was stunned. Social media platforms were abuzz with #PrayforParis hashtags and Parisian flag bedecked profile pics.
But that’s not the tiring part.
The tiring part was the many outraged posts that followed. Some people – I am assuming those who were suddenly given Prayer Expert license – were fuming because how dare everyone want to pray for Paris. Oh the audacity of them! No, people should not pray for Paris, they should rather pray for *insert something more worthy here*.
I cringed as I saw ugly claws come out. The people of Paris were forgotten. Instead of debating on how we could work together to alleviate these hate crimes or help to restore hope and peace to the broken parts of the world, some chose to debate about how RIGHT they thought they were and how WRONG other people are.
Like, who cares?
Do you think that the little girl in Paris, who lost her mommy, cares about your thought on who your neighbor should be praying for? Do you think the man who lost his family in Beirut, Lebanon, where 43 were massacred, wondered ever so slightly as to what anyone was saying about Paris-flagged Facebook profile pics and why you don’t have a Lebanese flag up there, instead?
Why, dear privileged people of social media world, do we take everything as an opportunity to make it all about ME ME ME? I shuddered as I watched how the killings in Paris, the loss in Beirut and the tragedy that occurred in Kano, Nigeria, where 15 were killed, was turned into one big soap box. Oh look, an opportunity to make this all about MY OPINION. (But first… let me take a selfie!)
Then came the “Why I did not pray for Paris” blog posts. Some argued that they would prefer to keep their prayers, you know, closer to home. Let’s first pray for us and ours and THEN we’ll throw in a prayer for the rest of the world. Some said that they didn’t believe that praying for Paris would help anyways, because, you know, the world was created by accident. So there’s actually no one to pray to. (That’s a sad thought). Others said that Paris did not deserve their prayers because the people of Paris have done some crappy things in their past and surely they deserve whats coming to them. Because, you know, we are all amazingly perfect, shame except the people of Paris. They should die.
I’m sorry that I’m being harsh (sorry not sorry) but I just find it incredible how we are able to take great tragedy and turn it into another way of segregating each other. There is power in unity and when we, as the people of this planet, stand together can you imagine the change that we are able to bring about? Even more so when we PRAY together!
I mean, what if we united and took this #PrayforParis thing seriously… What if we aren’t just posting the hashtag to show our “ag shame man”… What if we aren’t just updating our profile pics so that we could also have the cool photo overlay. What if we actually prayed and our prayers for Paris were laced with fervent pleas to soften the hearts of the militant gangs who are wreaking havoc and killing hundreds across the globe daily. What if, while praying for Paris, people would begin to ask God for a healing and to open the eyes of those who are under the ISIS curse. And, as we all come into agreement, change starts to happen slowly but surely… What would that change mean for our children and our children’s children?
So I will, in fact, be praying for Paris. For Lebanon. For Nigeria. For you. For me. For the world. Because prayer means that I have the faith that God hears.
And when God hears our faith talking, He moves.