• How lamentation turned me from apathy

    Posted by David

    28 February, 2012


    God whispers to us in our pleasures... but shouts in our pain:  It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” - C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain.

    During the past week of PrayACT, we have dwelt on the importance of prayer as action. As our week of focused prayer for the MDGs comes to a close, I have been reflecting on the last prayer of Jesus as he hung on the cross:

    And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"  (Mark 15:34).

    This prayer was Jesus’ lamentation – the cry that prefaced the overthrow of sin forever. It was this act of lamentation that opened the way for God’s hope for a new humanity and God’s reign of justice in our world.

    Generations before this moment, the prophets too, lamented the actions of the people of Israel – a cry of grief at consistent injustice. God met these cries of injustice with the sending of Jesus. Emmanuel; God with us – justice to be embodied and displayed amongst us.

    Allow me to share a story from my own walk with God about how lamentation turned me from my apathy. On a Sunday morning last year, I felt the weight of how mechanical my Christian life had become. There was a deep-seated apathy within me that that I’d tried to keep hidden from God. I was sitting back in religious idleness. I can’t remember what triggered my change of heart, but during worship, a deep cry suddenly erupted from my lips, as God’s Spirit worked within me. There was so much pain in this cry, such a deep desire to know God and a world where his love and justice was not mitigated by the violence and destruction of our sin. This moment remains the most powerful prayer I have ever prayed.

    I believe that the same cry of the prophets lies in the heart of each of us and we must seek God for this lamentation to restore us. It is a shame that the Church today does not lament in the same way that the prophets once did – we can easily become desensitised to the seemingly infinite injustice around us. We are always in need of a glimpse of God’s view of the world, as well as a reason to celebrate his goodness. Let God use us this year to become ‘nagging prophets’ (as Kevin Rudd fondly called Micah Challenge campaigners).

    Here in the Micah Challenge office, our determination for this year is to become a more prayerful people. We would like to thank you for partnering with us and praying with us as part of PrayACT last week. We have seen many campaign breakthroughs through our prayer and action, particularly in the area of child health, with the Government recently pledging $200 million to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI).

    Prayer really does translate into action, bringing us deeper into God's desire to end global poverty and making room for his will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. Let us cling to the power of prayer in all we do to reach the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Let us pray without ceasing as we seek to be part of God’s answer to the prayers of the poor. Let our cry of lamentation reach God’s ears again. Allow Him to transform sadness into joy, apathy into compassion and revitalise our call to be advocates for the global poor.


    David Bennett is the 2012 Communications Intern for Micah Challenge.