“Prayer overcomes our compassion with love in action.”
This statement was made by Romanita Hairston, Vice President of U.S. Programs, World Vision. This statement emerged from her study of Nehemiah. When this great Old Testament leader heard of God’s people suffering hundreds of miles away, he was so overcome with compassion for them that he broke down weeping. This alone humbles me. Am I truly broken for the those suffering right around me or across the world? Nehemiah’s heart was tender, broken by the things that break God’s heart.
Things didn’t stop with compassion. So often we can feel deeply about a situation revealed to us, but that’s where it ends. Not with Nehemiah. His compassion moved him to prayer…for days. His prayer moved him to action. His compassion was overcome with love in action! He went on to accomplish the mind-blowing task of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. Though demolished for 100 years, the walls were rebuilt in 52 days once they started!
We are surrounded by broken walls. This morning, I was reminded of:
- Youth homelessness right in our northern suburbs of Minneapolis. Hundreds of them!
- 50% of all minority youth do not graduate from high school.
- One in five children live in poverty. By the way, youth living in poverty in Brooklyn Park has recently tripled, much of that due to the crumbled housing market, equal in scope to that of Detroit.
There are needs — broken walls — all around us. Do you see it? Do you feel anything by this? Is there some compassion in you for the blight all around us?
Now, if you feel some compassion, you are where Nehemiah was when he started his initiatives of influence. But compassion is only the starting point. By the way, our city is eager to help collaborate the passions of our people and churches to make significant changes to the “broken walls” we face.
How many opportunities do we miss because we fail to pray? We feel deeply and may erroneously feel that this is what is expected. Yes–partly. But faith without works is dead. Let us FIRST fall to our knees and ask God to sweep over us, overcoming our compassion with His love in action.