Twenty-one years ago, the Northridge earthquake, a 6.7-magnitude tremblor, startled people all over Los Angeles. I remember jolting awake, ducking under a door frame, thinking “Is this the Big One?” My second thought, “Are my parents o.k.?” My third thought, “This quake is-st-st-still g-g-going on!” Finally, it stopped, and I tried calling my folks, but there was no phone service. The lights were out, viper car alarms going off (forever), and fires began to blaze in the distance. I did the only thing left to me—I prayed for my family’s safety.
Later that week, I saw my 93-year-old grandmother and asked what she was doing when the quake struck. She said, “I was coming out of the bathroom when everything began to shake. I sat down and began to pray for all the children who would be so frightened by the shaking.” You all are thinking, “Wow, Pastor David’s grandmother is something else.” I was thinking, “What the heck? Why were you not praying for your favorite grandchild?” J
In crisis, our true biases are laid bare. I am naturally biased to my family. My grandmother cared for all the frightened children for she had Christ’s heart for the widow, the orphan and the alien. She loved like Christ loved. She did not pray for herself, but prayed for all those so frightened and hurt that evening.
When Jesus Christ was on the cross, in his extreme agony, he also prayed for those who were like children, the Roman soldiers. They were child-like in their ignorance of who they were crucifying—the Savior, the Messiah. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Lk. 23:34a). Similarly, Jesus also said in response to the criminal next to him who had asked Christ to remember him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise” (Lk. 23:43). Even, in his abject suffering, Jesus remembered and cared for those lost in their sins.
As Christ, our eternal Lord and Savior, advocates for us before God the Father, so that we would not be condemned for our sins, but saved through his atoning sacrifice, can we do no less than to pray in the heart of Jesus Christ? Brothers and sisters, can we not pray in the power of Christ for those who have no advocates and are left screaming under the dread sway of their sins?
Lord, may you be glorified, and may others come to know the glory of your name as you save us from our sins and restore us into right relationship with one another and with our heavenly Father God, amen.