Today, just in case you missed it, is Blog Action Day.
A quick Google Blogsearch will turn up thousands of posts relating to today, most of them full of ingenuity and compassion, detailing practical ways to alleviate poverty in developing countries, help those who have fallen through the economic floor in Western nations, and address the financial fear that has brought so many of us in the West over the past few weeks to stare into the hollow eyes of the spectre of poverty in our own communities, which seemed only a year ago to be so secure and prosperous.
I'm not an ingenious person, economically, and I've never been any use to any fundraising initiative, beyond holding the odd collecting tin. Kiva Loans and the economics of poverty in marginalised communities make my head spin. But I can pray.
Prayer is so often seen as a last resort: "We've tried everything, and nothing works. All we can do is pray!" But if we are Christians, if we really believe Jesus' words in Matthew 7, "Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened…" prayer should be our first resort.
I've said so often in this blog that most of my readers will know what is coming next before I type it, but it isn't even necessary to know what to pray for, in order to pray. Yes, of course we can, and should, inform ourselves in every way possible, about poverty, and the many global initiatives to combat it; but we don't need to frame in thoughts and words what we feel God should do about it. We need only to hold the needs of the world on our hearts before God, remembering that "the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God." (Romans 8.26-27)
God will use our tears, our bafflement, our frustration, in ways we cannot imagine, and may never know.
Please pray. Please don't think, as I am tempted to think sometimes, "It's no use, I can't do anything about this." But be prepared, always, to be part of God's answer to your own prayers. He may have uses for you, for me, that we've never even begun to think of…