The Silence and Thunder of Prayer

Source: pinterest

(As is my wont, I have just spent some time sorting out my books, notes, newspaper cuttings, etc.   This is a necessary annual activity for me.   I do this to throw out anything that I find no longer useful or inspiring.   I also do it in the hope of finding something that may just trigger off an idea for an article.   Needless to say, sadly, I do not have to search too deeply this time.)               ……………….

As we embrace the beginning of a new year, it is difficult to feel hopeful and enthusiastic as there is still so much to contemplate on what is continuing to besiege our world.   Daily, the media is full of crisis after crisis – the natural disasters such as tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes, flooding, bushfires, domestic violence, relationship breakdowns, and predominantly, the ongoing devastation of the Covid pandemic.

It all sounds full of doom and gloom and negativity.   Maybe this is one of the reasons why people are living in a more frenetic life-style, but in reality, are only chasing their own tails whilst looking for answers in this world gripped by panic, irrationality and fear.   Are there any answers to be found?   Who can we believe has the right answer – any answer?   Our governments?

Talkback gurus who are so good at inviting comments from a sometimes-gullible audience?   To be honest, I am not a great fan of talkback programmes and the odd time I have listened has left me frustrated.   Of course, there is always the exception and many people do respond in a positive and generous way.

However, at a deeper level, I ask myself where can we look for some answers, some hope and consolation.   For myself, I turn to the Word of God and the life of Jesus as we reflect on the past couple of years and all that has happened especially the outbreak of the Covid pandemic.   I am reminded of St John’s vision of the Four Horseman in the Book of Revelations.   I have just sat and re-read Chapters 6 and 7 and I found it a very consoling and heart-lifting experience during this time of anxiety.

In Chapter 6, John describes the vision of the Four horsemen and the time of terror that will precede the Golden Age of God.  He predicts there will be times of disaster, wars and pandemics but after we have passed through these times of uncertainty, there will be times of happiness once again.   “Never again, will they hunger or thirst; neither the sun nor any scorching heat will burn them, because the Lamb, who is the centre of the throne, will be their Shepherd and he will guide them to springs of life-giving water.   And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” (Rev.7:16). But here’s the rub – the times of trouble must be endured first!

The first horse in John’s vision is of the white horse and its rider.   These stand for war and victory.   For years now, it has been the threat of terrorism, not only in other parts of the world, but also in our own countries which can paralyze and destroy humanity.

The second horse is the blood-red horse of violence which attacks peace on earth.   It is the violence that sets one human being against another.   Nation against nation.   Many countries in the world are experiencing their own internal conflict.   Here in Australia, we have also come to a sorry state of affairs when human life – once such a cherished value – is being recklessly destroyed through the evils of domestic violence, breakdown in relationships, moral deterioration, widespread sexual abuse, etc.

In the third vision, John describes the black horse of famine and hunger.   This description of famine is not just a picture of hunger for the necessities of life but of hunger contrasted to luxury and affluence.   Many have too much while many have far too little.

John’s final image is the vision of the fourth horse.   The pale horse of pestilence and death.   The horse is pale symbolizing terror and death.   It fuels the universal fear which is all around us as we learn of the worldwide spread of the Covid Virus.   It drains our life-blood and makes us very frightened people.   And that, sadly, is the worst of all, for fearful and frightened people do strange and irrational things such as panic buying and succumbing to negativity!

In a nutshell, as I understand it, this is John’s vision of our troubled times – war, terror, hunger and now the fear of Covid 19 which the whole world is currently experiencing.   It is a gloomy scenario in which we are living.   But there is good news, John assures us.   These troubled times will pass, and they will usher in the age of God, the purification of sin, and the bliss of the blessed.

“One of the elders said to me: ‘Do you know who these are, who are clothed in white robes and where they come from…?  They are those who have come out of the great tribulation and have washed their robes…in the blood of the Lamb…’”  (Rev. 7: 13-14).

In Chapter 8, John talks about the ‘Silence and the thunder of prayer.’   John’s words in these times of unrest, will hopefully encourage us to offer our prayers to God for peace, reconciliation, forgiveness and hope.

No doubt, many people throughout the world may believe that the Book of Revelations (Apocalypse) is just a load of hypothetical hysteria.   But if we can’t find the answers in a human context, we certainly have nothing to lose in listening to and trusting in these prophetic words of John in Revelation.

Peggy Spencer is an active member of her parish church, St. John the Baptist, in Fern Tree Gully near Melbourne, Australia. Though not a "professional" writer, Peggy has always loved writing.

  • graeme quinlan
    Posted at 05:38h, 11 February Reply

    In today.s Gospel we read of the man who was deaf. He was bought to Jesus in the hope of healing of his affliction. Jesus demonstrated two very specific actions in this encounter,jesus did the most perfect thing, With one word He proclaimed Ephrata which is” Be Open,”Jesus was not only speaking of the physical healing but also of the spiritual healing of which so many of us so desperately need .Jesus wants us to not rely on hearing the spoken word delivered through sermons, Lectures etc. But to really go within,to the Heart, to where the voice the Lord speaks to us and to listen to His word that resonates within ,.Jesus said ‘Be not afraid, for I’am with you.’

  • Friederika Priemer
    Posted at 09:00h, 11 February Reply

    Thank you very much for this inspiring and comforting article, dear Peggy.
    God bless you for sharing your consoling thoughts with us.

  • Peter Bisson
    Posted at 10:44h, 11 February Reply

    Thank you Peggy!

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