The senseless mass murder at the Naval Ship Yard in our nation’s capital this week raises many questions. Not the least of which “could it have been avoided?” Many things, as with past massacres such as the Newtown School shootings less than a year ago, are under consideration that shoulda woulda coulda been done to prevent such tragedies. But I have not heard, at least through secular media, even a hint or suggestion that it could have been avoided through prayer. To even suggest that prayer might have headed off such a tragedy doubtless jars the sensibilities of some, but let us stop for a moment and consider it as a possibility.
In the bible, both Old and New Testaments there are numerous accounts of earnest, concentrated prayer being made where tragedy was thereby averted Jerusalem’s last minute deliverance from its own imminent demise when surrounded by the Assyrians during the reign of King Hezekiah was a direct and miraculous answer to prayer. And the Apostle Peter’s eleventh hour escape from prison and certain death directly coincided with a prayer meeting that was focused on his behalf. (2 Kings 19 & Acts 12:5-16)
And even more noteworthy is the fact that throughout the Bible God actually encourages individuals to take up positions as watchmen in prayer specifically for the purpose of being a safeguard against evil. Many of the prophets, including Isaiah, Ezekiel, Micah and Habakkuk were specifically called by God as watchmen to intercede on behalf of God’s purposes in the nations. God told Isaiah “I have posted watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night. You who call on the LORD, give yourselves no rest, and give Him no rest till He establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth.” (Isaiah 62:6-7 NIV)