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How Can You Pray about Terrorism?

By Marjorie Foerster Eddington

Let's look at how we can work to eliminate terrorism from our own lives. We can begin our work by understanding how Moses helped his people learn about God.

God gave Moses a pattern for building a church or tabernacle in which to worship the one God. Some people call this structure the Tent of Meeting, since initially it was a large rectangular tent-like structure. Every time they camped, the children of Israel located three tribes on each side of the tabernacle so that the tabernacle would always be in the middle of their community, at the center of their lives. The Ark of the Covenant in which they kept the Ten Commandments was located in the part of the tabernacle called the Holy of Holies. This structure symbolized to the people that God was always in the midst of them.

Ways we can live so that God is in the midst of our family, school, and community:

  • We put God first, praying with gratitude and listening to Him throughout the day.
  • We realize that God is the source of our supply, happiness, success, health, security, peace, and everything good.
  • We align our thoughts, speech, and actions with God so that they cannot help but be good, pure, kind, tender, and peaceable.
  • We listen to God so that we think, do, and say the right thing. This keeps us safe.

Because we love God, we want to obey His commandments -- some of which deal with specific forms of terrorism.

Thou shalt not kill. Ex. 20:13

  • Don't kill another's spirit, creativity, joy, sense of security or accomplishment by criticizing, making sarcastic remarks, condemning, judging, bullying.
  • Rather we should nurture individual expression, creativity, happiness, success by encouraging, appreciating, and noticing the good in others.

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. Ex. 20:16

  • Don't gossip -- ever! Don't spread rumors, talk bad about someone else, blame others, point out their faults, ignore them.
  • Rather, see the good in others, speak well of others, make it a habit to point out when others do well, notice others, correct and stop rumors.

Let's work hard, especially as so many of us are going back to school, to make these commandments central to our daily living by obeying them, which puts God in our midst.

Here are some other ways we can feel that God is at the center of our lives and help others to feel the same sense of safety in different circumstances:

Right after 9-11, there were incidents at my school in which people started calling students names who were of Arab or Persian origin. There were also fights. Yet, these students had nothing to do with the attacks on the Twin Towers. Other schools and communities confronted this same fear, racism, and conflict. Such name-calling, bullying, and fighting is a form of terrorism. How do we stop it?

  1. It's helpful to realize that bullying of any sort (including gang warfare) generally stems from fear and insecurity. Individuals who call others names, pick fights, or bully others are often:
    • fearful that they won't get what they want;
    • insecure about themselves, their identity, their purpose;
    • scared that they will be attacked in some way if they don't attack first.
  2. Instead of becoming a victim of their fear-motivated threats and attacks by reacting -- fighting back, calling them names, being scared -- we need to know that God is in the midst of the situation. This can be very difficult sometimes.
  3. But when we know God is in the midst, and truly turn to Him, then we can hear His voice and know what appropriate action to take -- whether it be calling a teacher, administrator, parent, police, or standing firm and unafraid (or whatever else God may tell you to do, which might also mean running) if no one else is around.

Arguing is another form of terrorism. Arguing would try to take away our peace. When arguments happen, how do you put God in the midst?

  • Read how Daniel felt safe in the lions' den. Literally, Daniel could have been torn to shreds. And sometimes it feels like we are being torn to shreds when someone is arguing with us. But Daniel felt safe.
  • Rather than defending ourselves, we can let God defend us. We may choose simply to agree to disagree. The truth will eventually be known.
  • Or you could agree to put the argument on hold and go somewhere where you each can be quiet alone. During this quiet time, think about everything that you appreciate about the other person. Then, when you come back to the discussion (not argument!), you can speak to each other with loving and gentle tones. This takes practice and patience!
  • Some schools have peer counseling and conflict resolution classes. You can join the team of those individuals who work to resolve conflicts harmoniously.

Enjoy protecting yourselves and others from terrorism by living with God in the midst.