A call for prayer
By Myrtle Thompson
Sometimes we say, “I wish I had thought of (or done) that!”
That’s how I felt when I read the story on Mr. Domenick Epps (“A prayer for racial unity”) in the June 17 edition of the Suffolk News-Herald and saw the picture of Mr. Epps calling for a 12-hour fast and prayer for racial unity.
I want to thank this man, whom I have not met, for doing what I believe is the only good answer to the multiplicity of problems we are facing. I wish I could have stood with them. A call to prayer like his has been my desire since March. Just days before the lockdown, I thought of asking if our Wednesday night church supper crowd could begin staying for prayer.
I don’t know of many others calling a community together specifically for prayer, but Mr. Epps sent my thoughts traveling back to the 1940s, when prayer was the most important thing on the minds of almost everyone. There were enormous world problems that needed to be solved. People were praying. Church doors remained open 24/7 for prayer. We knew our country was in trouble and needed Someone greater than ourselves to help us. Mr. Epps having “only about 12” with him to stand and pray reminded me Jesus had only 12, and they accomplished great things.
Many great works have gotten a start with the ideas of one person or a small group. I hope Mr. Epps’ idea will open the hearts and minds of others who understand our complex problems are too great to solve by ourselves. We need the Creator God and His wisdom. He will supply if we ask. I hope this inspired idea will create the desire for a designated prayer time in which communities stop everything and pray. If we do not ask God’s help we may find ourselves desperate, only to hear His voice at the end, “You didn’t ask for My help.” He is the only One Who can heal and completely change us. He can give us a new purpose for living.
A study of what Paul the apostle wrote to the Roman Christians is a good reminder. He wrote there is none righteous, not a single person. “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (3:23). He said there is a price that must be paid for that, “The wages of sin is death…” (6:23). Thankfully, after reminding us how helpless we really are, he wrote 8:28, an oft-quoted message of hope, “All things work together for good to them who love God…” We don’t love God unless we are willing to get our lives on the right track. Confession for sin always begins the process of finding what God desires of us. Mr. Epps understood prayer and sharing a fast will prepare our hearts for how God can help us work out our problems for unity.
I pray God’s special blessing on Mr. Epps’ life and ministry. We need godly leadership. He has lit the lamp. I hope it will not go out but be the torch for hundreds of others to follow his leading. There is a God Who rules on earth as well as in Heaven. When He hears our prayers of confession, He will answer.
Myrtle Virginia Thompson is a retired missionary, educator, Bible teacher and writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.