Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Praying for Our First Responders

 (submitted by Kerry Patton)
“Be my mighty rock, the place where I can always run for protection.  Save me by your command!  You are my mighty rock and my fortress.  Come and save me, Lord God, from vicious and cruel and brutal enemies!”
Psalm 71:1-3
What Must Their Eyes See!
There is a violence to what the eyes can see in the course of a given day.  We don’t regularly think about it.  We normally think about and are very concerned with violence in the inner city, the rise of drug related and gang violence, violence on the playground, and domestic violence…we certainly want our children and families to be safe; and as parents we may find ourselves concerned about violence in movies and video games too.  We are concerned about how the senses of our children can become numb to…desensitized to violence, death and the acts of killing that occur on the big screen…and the small ones.

There is a violence though, that I pray you and I live our entire lives and never become exposed to.  It is a violence that our First Responders face…if not every day; it is far, far too many days of their lives.  I have heard a few of the stories…and I dare not repeat them here…but suffice it to say:
·             It is the First Responders who walk up to the automobile accident scene and free the broken bodies from mangled steel, or rush into the burning building in attempt to save those perishing on the inside. 
·             These are the heroes who place themselves in danger…who when performing a simple stop for a traffic stop, may at any moment face the barrel of a loaded gun in the hand of the confused, the frightened, the enraged, or of the drug distorted mind. 
·             It is the Police officer, the Fireman, and the EMT/Paramedic who willingly step out the door of their home on a daily basis, knowing that in the course of an average patrol, they may well come into contact with the very depths of human suffering and depravity…or they could face their own death. 
·             They rush toward suffering, violence, danger, and potential death…and they don’t do it for great reward…they do it for us.
As a volunteer for the Parker County React team, and the P.A.D.R.E. program, I am provided access to hear the stories, the testimonies of how First Responders not only protect and rescue, but also of how they survive and cope with the violence of what they see and hear on a near daily basis.  They cannot un-see what they are exposed to. 

Depression is common.  Isolation and withdrawal a common trait.  One officer, in his late-thirties, noted that when he started as a young officer, he thought he had the best job in the world.  He loved carrying the gun, driving the fast car, going after the bad guys.  Now years later, he remarked how he is changed.  Calloused in many ways…fatigued in others.  He is tired.  Retirement is his hope for relief.

I take the opportunity to speak with First Responders as I encounter them in our community.  I ask them if they are aware of the Shield-A-Badge program, and confess that our church prays for them every single day.  I have never received a single syllable of disapproval.  To a man, every responder is very, very grateful for our covering of prayer.  “Keep it up!” they say. “We need every single prayer. Thank you!”

In encourage you, if you aren’t already…to join our Shield-A-Badge prayer program.  Every day, individuals, and families take a little time and bow their heads to pray for the safety, wisdom, and families of First Responders.  In our home, Laura, Benjamin, Sydney, and I gather in our living room each night and include our First Responders as we pray for our family, our friends, and ourselves.  We pray for their marriages, their finances, and their protection.  We ask God to give them favor with all those they encounter, that they be given wisdom and discernment in conducting their duties…and we pray for God to help them cope with all that they see.  For they see…so very much.
Will you pray…for our First Responders?  I thank you for doing it.


Almighty God, we pray for the First Responders.  So often they are unappreciated, even unnoticed until we call them for help or rescue.  Yet they are there at the ready, always serving, always protecting.  We ask that you protect them, O God.  Minister to them, and through them as they protect and serve our community.  Let each of them turn to you for strength, courage, wisdom, help and hope.  And help us to always be encouraging, and supportive of them.  And finally Father, make us sensitive to what you would have us to pray for, as we intercede for them.  Tune our hearts to your voice that we might best become your hands and feet.   Amen.

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