Written by Dave Lenehan
Her name was Rachel Scott. When you were in high school, you may have participated in an anti-bullying program called Rachel’s Challenge. It is being used by hundreds of schools across the country. Rachel, a believer, was one of 12 students and a teacher gunned down at Columbine High School in Colorado on April 20, 1999. Rachel’s funeral was broadcast on national television. Prayers for the students and their families poured in from around the globe. While many other tragic school shootings have taken place since then, Columbine still has an impact on lives today, partly through Rachel’s story and that of other Christian students killed who were followers of Jesus.
Today, we are reeling from the news of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. More young lives lost. More stories of tragedy. Another apparent “loner kid” who carried out his plan to wreak havoc on his former classmates. Pastor Josh Rutledge so wisely asked us last night at Liberty University’s Campus Community, “what can we do?” It was Valentine’s Day. We were set for a fun-filled, light-hearted night. Plus, we are miles away from the tragedy, seemingly far removed from having any impact. What can we do?
We do what we as followers of Jesus do best: WE PRAY.
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” (Ephesians 6:18, NIV)
“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives…” (Colossians 1:9, NIV)
“I call on you, my God, for you will answer me;
turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.” (Psalm 17:6, NIV)
“Lord, hear my prayer,
listen to my cry for mercy;
in your faithfulness and righteousness
come to my relief.” (Psalm 143:1, NIV)
Over the years, Rachel Scott’s dad, Darrell Scott has traveled the nation carrying Rachel’s and Columbine’s story. While much of what he talks about focuses on how God has used that event to draw thousands to Him, he also urges believers to pray – to pray for our local schools, our teachers and staff. As several pastors near the Florida high school told Liberty University Campus Pastor David Nasser, “right now, you can pray.” Pray for God to equip and use those local pastors, youth pastors and Christian students to shower their community with God’s love, comfort, peace and encouragement.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-5, NIV)
When tragedy like this strikes, what do we do? WE PRAY.