Dear Father, the Star Wars film The Last Jedi was released on December 9, 2017. As of December 18th, the film has grossed nearly $ 500 million. Assuming the average ticket price is $ 11, over 45 million people have watched this movie in the last 11 days. Statistically speaking, that amounts to 172,000+ people every hour. Therefore, the messages communicated by the film are significant. Father, what are the messages of films like these? 1) There is good and evil in this world. 2) Our purpose in life is to fight against evil. 3) Evil can be overcome by human courage and craftiness. 4) The future of the world depends upon a few flawed heroes. 5) Violence and collateral destruction are essential to any solution. 6) In the end, the heroes are exhausted but they are also victorious. 7) People enjoy a good story, familiar characters forced to deal with intense emotions in life or death situations.
How does this message compare with the experience of believers in Jesus Christ? There is a battle between good and evil in every believer’s life. Every believer is called to courageously fight against evil by the power available to us through Christ. The future of the world does depend upon a relatively few committed believers in Jesus Christ. Life is filled with heartache and suffering. In the end, committed believers will be exhausted but they will also receive their reward. The story of how a believer has battled through adversity and fought to the finish is appealing.
Father, given this is all true, why do believers in Jesus Christ hide their testimonies? They don’t want to experience the risks, pain, and hardship themselves. They’d rather sit in a seat in a movie theater, enjoying their popcorn, while they watch others battle with adversity. Father, our society is starving for genuine heroes of faith. I ask You to raise them up! Create an army in every community of courageous men and women who will battle against evil in Your name. They will fight with the power of Your Word, the power of prayer, the power of their testimony, and their powerful acts of compassion for people in need. Father, a successful movie like Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a reminder that our neighbors would be interested in our faith stories if only we had the courage to be heroic and the courage to share how God has delivered us. Father, create heroic stories in our lives and then lead us to share them with our neighbors in need. Amen.
Dear Father, 12 people have died yesterday in a bus crash in Mexico. The bus was taking tourists from cruise ships to an archeological site. No doubt the people in the bus were laughing and enjoying conversation, excited about the adventure they were experiencing. They didn’t know they had but minutes to live when they boarded the bus. Father, this is a reminder for all of us. We don’t know how soon our death may be. Time is precious. Our relationship with You is a concern for this very hour. Father, may the tragic suffering of others not be wasted on those of us who continue to lead a normal life. May we learn the spiritual lessons in news reports like these. Father, I ask for Your blessings on the survivors of this bus crash. Heal their injuries. Help them recover physically and return to normal life. Ease the pain and the emotional anguish they may feel today having survived such a horrific deadly crash. Father, I pray Your blessings on their loved ones who were traumatized by the accident. Give them Your grace and peace this very day. Father, may Your mercy and compassion overflow into the hearts and minds of each person who lost a loved one in this accident. Attend to their needs at this time. Give all who were touched personally by this bus accident reasons to thank You and praise You tomorrow. Amen.
Dear Father, it seems hard to believe. However, there are apparently tribes in India, Indonesia, New Guineau, Bolivia, and Brazil who have either never made contact with the rest of the world or who want nothing to do with civilization. Father, I know You love each and every one of the people that live in these communities. You know them by name. You know their thoughts and emotions. You know their challenges. Father, I ask that You will give to them whatever You determine they need. Include them in Your plan to bring the hope of Jesus Christ to every corner of the world. Move Your church to reach out to them compassionately, gently, and respectfully. Amen.