While we argue over issues of opinion and focus our prayers on those topics, others in the American West are facing situations whose outcomes will be life or death. We pray a great deal about our opinions hoping they become the norm ignoring the more substantial issues of life like water shortages and the resulting loss of energy and ultimately food scarcity. We think the latter is somehow less spiritual. Even mentioning this kind of thing can disturb the peace of some while we water our lawns and swim in our pools not realizing a rancher is having to sell off his herd because it no longer makes sense to keep going because the water to produce the hay and water the herd is gone.
A storm of lack is upon us and it needs the attention of our prayers. The most essential substance for human life – water – is being compromised by a convergence of drought and unregulated use. In our part of Oregon, irrigation canals that water our crops are being shut down for the next few weeks in hopes the rain will come. It doesn’t look promising.
While we do need to pray for the salvation of friends, family, and nations, we should also be praying for the well-being of those we don’t see on a daily basis like ranchers and farmers who put food in our bellies and those who have to make uncomfortable calls regarding our natural resources.
Water sustains our lives, powers our electrical grids, feeds our crops and livestock, and lets us take a well-deserved shower. If tomorrow it was not present and our assumption of its forever availability was proven to be an illusion and we had to hike a mile to a community well to withdraw its precious content, how would we pray?
In our culture of plenty, we have lost our connection to the land and its resources. In some cases, our prayers are for things many in the world don’t have the time or luxury to pray for because they are simply trying to survive. We are not isolated from those same realities. We can naively think what we now enjoy with freedom and unrestrained use will always be available. We should be praying for heavenly intervention asking God to send a revival of rain and, at the same time, healing our understanding of its resource and use. Civilizations throughout human history have always prayed for rain. It is the most basic essence of life and one our prayers should not overlook.