A Call to Prayer

The urge to write this post has come unbidden to my mind so frequently in recent days that I believe it is God’s idea.  So I’m doing as I’ve been told.

I’m writing to call for prayer, specifically, prayer for God’s intervention against the scourge of drug abuse.

We are all affected in one way or the other—relationally, emotionally, physically, financially, spiritually.  Even if you don’t know anyone who is addicted; even if you’ve never felt the tug between helping and hurting; even if you’ve never lain awake, crying dark and bitter tears, or stood beside a casket with your insides cauterized by anger at your own powerlessness and the senseless tragedies that drug abuse causes—even if you cannot draw a straight line between yourself and the scourge, you are affected.

Every taxpayer pays the price for health care required by drug abuse and the drain of resources into services for individuals and families falling apart because of unemployment, incarcerations, and violence.  Every citizen bears the burden of the diversion of law enforcement and the justice system to drug-related crimes.  Addiction is never victimless.  Our national tax base cannot possibly serve society equitably when a growing minority absorbs an undue share.

But even if you are not financially affected or if that seems a crass motivation for prayer, obeying God in this effort makes sense otherwise, because every individual is a part of the human race, and when one suffers, all suffer. “No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main” (John Donne).  None of us can claim never to be a part of the problem and not the solution.  One swift glance in the mirror shows us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).  So maybe it’s simply a matter of putting oneself right with the rest of humanity.  Jesus commands: “Love one another” (John 13:34).  Prayer is identification and obedience, and surely it is love.

So today I began praying intentionally and fervently for those who are addicts, those who are becoming addicted, those who are tempted to addiction, and those who are struggling to overcome it.  I prayed that God would grant them vision to see the ends of their actions and strength to hold out against temptation; that God would satisfy their cravings with His calm and peace.

I prayed, too, for those who are struggling to love addicts: that God would empower them against enabling, by showing them how their behaviors might stop the cycles of addiction and how their behaviors may encourage addiction by forestalling consequences.  I prayed for families and friends suffering from loneliness, poverty, and fear caused by drug abuse—that God would provide their needs and comfort them with His presence.

But my prayers don’t stop there. I feel compelled to pray also for those profiting from drug abuse: not only the ones selling on the street and running crack houses in bad sections of town, but also those who head pharmaceutical companies that aggressively market opioids and other drugs so easily misused.  I asked God to speak to them and to doctors heedlessly over-prescribing addictive drugs, to convict them of the evil resulting from their behaviors, whether legal or not.  Bring them to their knees, I prayed, and after their repentance, give them strength to change through the power of Your Holy Spirit, transforming them from the business of death to a love of life.

I prayed today for first responders—paramedics, firefighters, police officers, medical professionals in emergency rooms and trauma centers, rehab specialists.  I thanked God for each and every one, and asked that He strengthen them and grant them patience and hope as they battle what seems like a swelling tide and an endless river.
And lastly I prayed with wider horizons—for politicians and for the public at large.  That we the people would call for and vote for funding for rehab research and programs, effective innovations in law enforcement and justice, improved opportunities for employment and education, and public policies that affirm the worth of every human being.

Perhaps the gift of God in all this is that drug abuse is not a racial problem nor a problem exclusive to one socio-economic class.  It forces us to acknowledge our common humanity, our self-insufficiency, and our utter dependence on the One who is greater than we.  Therefore, the call to prayer.  As the old Gospel song says, “When we have exhausted our store of endurance, when our strength has failed ere the day is half done, when we reach the end of our hoarded resources, our Father’s full giving is only begun.”  May it be so.

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13 thoughts on “A Call to Prayer

  1. Dear Beverly, I have become more aware of the devastation of drug abuse, both legal and illegal. I have an aunt addicted to pain killers, with a doctor that is aware of how to get around the system set up to discourage over-prescribing. A young woman who is a regular food pantry client had to be administered several doses of Narcan a few weeks ago, after her young son ran down the street crying that his mommy and daddy were dead. My heart goes out to all those touched by the drug epidemic and my fervent prayers go forward to our Great Healer. Thank you for your heartfelt words and call to action.

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    • Thanks for your affirmation, Pat. I don’t have any personal connection to this issue, but I hear of many situation like the ones you describe. They are the heartbreaking reality of what we must pray about.
      I hope and pray all is well with you & Lee.

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  2. One of my cousin’s four sons is addicted. He’s been in and out of rehab, has stolen from his parents, has broken their hearts by living on the streets and in flophouses. He’s now out of rehab for the fifth time (at age 27) and is living in his parents’ back yard, because they cannot trust him to be in the house. His mother puts food out for him, “like a dog,” she says nearly in tears. His brothers hardly acknowledge him because he has stolen from them, cursed them, and embarrassed them so many times. He was a bright, lively, beautiful child who is now old beyond his years and possibly ruined for all time. May our prayers for a solution to this scourge be answered in time for L____.

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  3. Your words are so appropriately timed. Just today at school I sat with two young children after they kissed their mom goodbye as she was being taken to jail. It was heartbreaking to say the least. I see far too many children suffer as a result of their parents choices. -Standing firm with you in prayer!

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  4. May this call to prayer spread and grow. It will certainly take the prayers of many to help this ever growing number struggling with addiction and the lives of those connected to them. Thank you Pastor Beverly for your well said prayers, let us all join you in this!!

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  5. Wonderful yet heartbreaking read Bev. I join you in prayer, as I know well the destruction and waste of addiction. Our loved ones and those we casually know, as well as throngs of unknowns but still our brothers and sisters, are suffering. May we pray, love and offer our help for restoration.

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  6. Pastor Beverly,
    Thank you for this. It brought me to my knees in prayer. I replied yesterday. I must have not have hit “send” as today while re-reading your post I didn’t see my comment. I was glad that happened because as I’ve prayed on this I feel the Lord made me think deeper about my situation. Like others, the subject of addition is important to me. My husband, a Pharmacist, deals with it daily. As a society, however, we also must be careful about blaming. Lyme disease has left me with chronic pain. I wear a Fentanyl patch and use opoids for breakthrough pain. If it were not for these medications I would be even more homebound than I am currently. It is my opinion and my prayer that as a society we find ways to combat the actual disease and not wrongly accuse the drugs. Let God lead us to answers and His will be done. I join with you in prayer to find answers to overwhelming addiction questions where we as mere mortals have none.

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    • You’re absolutely right that there are legitimate uses for the very drugs that can also be abused. That’s part of what makes this problem so complicated. Thanks for joining me in prayer that God will grant wisdom for solutions.

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