There’s a challenging quote from John Piper that one of my friends posted recently on Facebook:
One of the great uses of Twitter and Facebook will be to prove at the Last Day that prayerlessness was not from lack of time.
Notwithstanding the fact that my friend used Facebook to share this wisdom, demonstrating its usefulness in admonition, I generally have to submit to the point. The amount of time I spend faffing about on facebook and other internet sites is probably a bad thing.
Bejeweled Blitz, in particular, strikes me as an utter waste of time and yet I am quite addicted to the minute of frenetic gem-busting and beating my friends’ scores. There’s something about the game only taking a minute that makes it more seductive. I know that spending a minute playing a game is a perfectly acceptable diversion when I am working at home and need a break. Maybe my challenge should be to make it just one game a day. I gave it up for Lent without too much difficulty but that big purple ‘play again’ button is so tempting.
I know that other things are far more deserving of my concerted effort. This week at church we are having daily prayer meetings focusing on the needs of a dear friend suffering from serious cancer. We have been reminded about the parable of the persistent widow and the importance of determined prayer. While not needing to twist God’s arm to hear us, there is something powerful about uniting together and I was delighted to hear (via Facebook, oh the irony) how well she slept last night since that was one of our main prayer points at the meeting yesterday.
Christian teaching describes prayer as a key weapon in a spiritual battle, and the metaphor of war and recalling the heavy bombing taking place in our country 70 years ago seems more suited to prayer than to stupid computer games. Between November 1940 and February 1941, the second main phase of the Blitz included attacks on Coventry, Birmingham and other industrial cities and ports as well as continuing attacks on London. While counted as a strategic failure by the German forces, there is no denying the massive effects of such a sustained assault.
The effects of sustained prayer by a committed group of people surely include the abolition of the slave trade and the falling of the iron curtain and the Berlin Wall. While the prayers may not hit the headlines, the stories behind the headlines often reveal God’s people at work, often persistently knocking as Wilberforce brought the motion to Parliament every year for eighteen years. Even when the desired outcome is not realised, a strategic failure you could say, the effects of communal prayer on those taking part and their loved ones may still be considerable.
I’m not sure if using the word blitz to describe cleaning is any more appropriate than for a computer game, but again, it suggests a burst of activity for a desired outcome. Blitzing the kitchen or the bathroom can be satisfying in achieving noticeable improvement. Focusing on one particular area can allow for more encouraging results – just as our focus on prayer for sleep yesterday showed a clear answer which will hopefully boost our faith to ask for more. Whether it’s the final burst on a piece of work, exam preparation, a job that needs doing or a specific prayer request – let’s go for it wholeheartedly and give it
our best shot everything we’ve got.