Unfortunately, Yazoo City has been in the news recently. The latest was a quadruple murder that occurred in the early hours Monday outside of a local club. The previous news was centered around three overdose deaths that occurred within a six-week period. No one likes their city to be highlighted for these reasons. But what do you do?
In response to these events, one group of pastors wants to have a prayer march. Another pastor called for a day of prayer and fasting. And another group of pastors is meeting to determine what are the greatest issues to address in Yazoo: unemployment, education, drug abuse, etc.
I have chosen not to participate in any of these in the past because I see them as a way to attempt to treat symptoms and ignore the sickness. The Bible is clear: “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). The problem is that we are all sin-sick. As a result of this sickness, people turn to drugs to fill a void. Adults are at a nightclub “enjoying” the night away rather than being at home in the bed, preparing for a day of work the next morning. Sin-sickness leads to us living for ourselves, without any concern for others and the pain our actions will cause.
The cure to this sickness is a personal relationship with Jesus, where one surrenders their life to Him and aligns their lives according to His Word. We have told people they need to change their ways and we have pointed out finger at them long enough. All we are doing is addressing the symptoms.
While I would never speak against the importance of prayer, I am afraid we use it so excuse ourselves from calling people to surrender to Jesus. We sound spiritual when we tell others we are going to a prayer march for our city. I think we need to remember Jesus’ instructions that “when you pray, go into your private room, shut your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:6). The prayers offered in secret stir the heart of God.
If we want to see true change in our community, we will spend time in prayer, but we must put action to our prayers and proclaim the Good News of Jesus, calling people to turn from their sin and surrender their life to the Lord. “All who call on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13, emphasis mine).
If you have questions about this relationship with Jesus, check out this page for a simple explanation. If you have made this decision, tell someone what Jesus has done for you!