Thoughts on Prayer and Love in a Dark World

Over the past couple weeks, our world has been filled with darkness. From terrorism and natural disasters to fear and hatred. We witnessed the attacks in Paris unfold and the search for suspects associated with terrorism end in bloodshed and more lives lost to senseless violence. We have witnessed racial tension within our own nation, here in the States, as black students stand for their rights and the backlash of hate and anger at a system of repression. We have witnessed the hate and fear that has spread as the flood of refugees fleeing from death and war now stands at our door and the politics that has painted all those of the Islamic faith as terrorists.

We stand on the razor edge of war as bombs are being dropped with ever increasing frequency. Violence is spreading through our own streets in the name of race and hate. And our hearts have been hardened by suspicion and fear.

We stand on the edge of darkness as we watch our world sink lower and lower into the chaos of hatred and fear. And if we want to fight against this trend of mutually assured destruction, we must learn to wage a new kind of war.

I pray every day for the suffering of those around the world. Victims of violence and oppression, but also the survivors of war and natural disasters. I pray for peace, but that starts with a prayer for those who hold the weapons of violence and wield the blade of fear. I pray for my enemies, those who wish to kill and destroy, that they come to know the power of love. I pray for the warriors who stand in the line of fire, the heroes of the battlefield, but also the men and women who work on the front lines of emergencies, the police men and medical personnel who are witness to the violence that is tearing us apart from within.

And I pray that my heart and eyes be open to the love that can change the world and the truth to set my feet on the right path.

Our war starts with prayer. It starts with a change in our thoughts. And it starts with a willingness to love. Unconditionally.

I’ve been told that my prayers have no scientific affect on this world. No, you may not be able to record the difference they make. You may not see the change of a heart as it opens up to love. But you will be able to feel it if you allow yourself to open your heart to change and learn to love everyone as a brother or sister.

The movement #PrayforParis was more than just praying for the victims and survivors of a terrorist act. It was a call to unify humanity to stand up to fear and fight through love and hope. We gathered together with #PrayfortheWorld to remember that it isn’t just one action, a single event that unites us, but the suffering across the nations that need a helping hand and an extension of love.

Praying has nothing to do with Religion. And at the same time, it has everything to do with Faith. It does not matter in what language you pray, what you call the building you gather to be close to God, nor the name in which you call God. You don’t even have to believe in a God to pray. That is what unites us.

What unites us is our faith in the fact that Love can change the world as we know it.

Later this week, as families across America gather together to be thankful for what this past year has brought, I challenge you to give thanks for the power of Love. And think about how much the world would change if we loved one another with reckless abandon.

How would the world look if we showed love and compassion to those fleeing the war and destruction of their homes and cities? If we embraced one another in love, despite the differences in beliefs, in the color of our skin, or the faiths of our mothers and fathers? What would it look like if we responded with love to those who wish us dead?

This war we wage with love will not be won in an instant. It will take time. But we can be the generation that changes the world through peace, forgiveness, and compassion.

I know this in my heart.

And I am thankful for all the times when the power of love has given me second chances and opportunities to heal the conflicts of life.

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