There currently are a LOT of fires burning in the state where I live (Oregon), as well as in neighboring states (Washington and California). As a result, people in the affected areas post frequently on Facebook with updates, pictures, and other news about the fires in their areas.
Among the many resulting comments to these posts, one word consistently pops up: “Praying …”
Generally, people are directing their prayers to those who have been affected by the fire — either from having to evacuate (or even lose their homes) or, on a couple of occasions, the death of a firefighter.
While either scenario is terrible and one can’t help but experience empathy, the thought that keeps coming to my mind is … isn’t it a little late?
If you’re going to pray, why don’t you do it before the fire season starts … and then continue to do so throughout the entire summer? Pray that your god God prevents lightning from hitting trees during summer thunderstorms. Pray that your god God influences others not to use mowing and weeding equipment on dry grass and weeds. Or better yet, pray that your god God sends buckets of rain during the rainy season to keep the forests wet and less susceptible to fire.
Once a forest fire has ignited, the scene has been set. There is going to be destruction and sometimes loss of homes — and even lives. So prayers to your god God “after the fact” are pretty much next to useless. It may make you feel better because you’ve expressed your sympathy this way, but such prayers have little effect on the big picture.
Therefore, if you truly believe your god God is all-powerful and hears and answers prayer, wouldn’t the time for prayer be better before rather than after?
P.S. The picture above was taken just recently and was happening about 3 miles from where I live.