In our newspaper today, the local election news announced itself in big, bold print on the front page above the fold. And the stolen girls of Nigeria were trapped inside a tiny four inch tall column on the inner pages. Local news is, of course, important to local places. And yet . . . AND YET . . . I fear that the story of these precious, stolen girls will continue to be relegated to the back burners of our 24-hour news cycle in favor of infotainment “news” and political bickering–until the girls disappear altogether.
Evil depends on our ability to ignore and minimize it.
As I sat despairing at our breakfast table over our modern attention spans and self-absorption, the only thing (and likely the best thing) I could do was pray, with Psalm-like honesty.
We pray today for the over two hundred girls who have been abducted in Nigeria and for our world to wake up to their plight and take action. They have been taken by people who refuse to see their value, who deny that these girls are made in your image to be loved, cherished and educated. Vulnerable and young, these girls depend on the justice and compassion of others to do the right thing. And we are moving slowly . . . while they suffer in fear, likely wondering if they have been abandoned, forgotten.
Your people often wondered the same thing, as recorded so beautifully and painfully in the Psalms. When famine or illness came, when war arrived on their doorstep, when they were defeated, when the wickedness seemed to be winning, the Israelites cried out in their struggle, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Ps. 22:1). Centuries of experience had taught them well that if help was to come, it would come from the Lord. And the Lord had not failed them yet.
Please help these girls, your children and our children. Protect, comfort and encourage them as they are held captive and stir our leaders to wise and effective action. Awake our hearts to the truth that these girls are dependent on us to speak for them, to act with them and on their behalf, just as our own beloved children do when injustice strikes. Let every mother–and every father–rise up to claim these children as our own and protect them with the fierceness you have woven into the parental heart. Keep us from the distraction of daily busyness that would blind us to this injustice and silence our voices and our prayers.
When we pray for these precious girls, help us to see the faces of the children in our lives, whom you have placed in our hearts, to love, protect and nurture. With the trust of the Psalms and the light of the resurrection, we pray that your will be done on earth as it is in heaven: in Nigeria, in our hometowns, this day and always. In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.
Alicia Davis Porterfield is a writer, life coach and minister serving in Wilmington, NC. One half of a clergy couple and the mother of three young boys, she cherishes her six beautiful, lively and gifted nieces more than she can say. Recently, Alicia had the privilege of editing the collection A Divine Duet: Ministry and Motherhood available at http://www.helwys.com.