Have you or someone you know been the victim of terrorism? What is our defense? How do we protect ourselves from what often appears as senseless or random violence? Such experiences can leave us feeling hopeless and vulnerable. My colleague, Hank Teller, writing for the January 16, 2016 edition of the Hattiesburg American, shares a friend’s encounter with a moment of terror and how he handled it with prayer. Here’s Hank:
On Dec. 3, the front page headline of the New York Daily News read, “God Isn’t Fixing This.” It was a critical response to politicians who, after the San Bernardino mass shooting, responded, “You are in our thoughts and prayers,” while not taking any specific, presumably legislative actions to counter gun violence.
Yet, turning to the divine is a natural and since ancient times very common response to both unfolding human tragedy and moments of great fear. It’s a response that can comfort those who feel victimized and lift them out of victimization. It can even reform the thinking of those who have perpetrated violent events, reform their lives and, thus, thwart repeated acts of violence.
It’s understood that thought precedes most action. So, if prayer can eliminate the thoughts that lead to criminal action, and it can, then wouldn’t it make sense that prayer could be an effective help in countering terrorism?
Famed Mississippi author Eudora Welty addressed this question in a short story titled “Where is the Voice Coming From?” written after civil rights activist Medgar Evers was murdered outside his home in Jackson during the summer of 1963. What is the “voice” that would impel someone to murder innocent civilians attending a concert in Paris, a Christmas party in San Bernardino, or a church Bible study in Charleston?….