There has been a proliferation of iProducts: iPods, iTrips, iTunes and iPhones. Let me suggest another: iPray.
I'm not sure what the 'i' stands for, I guess 'intelligent'. All these iProducts are about communication so I suggest that iPrayer fits neatly into the pattern since prayer is all about communication. The thing about iPrayer is you don't need to spend $100 on an electronic device to do it nor do you have to walk around with those silly little ear-buds stuck in your pinnas. iPrayer is available to everybody, instantly and free.
Here are some things you might want to iPray about:
The cease-fire in Gaza.
Famine in Zimbabwe.
Greed in Wall Street.
iPrayer should be a spur to action. So when you've finished complaining to God about the mess we have made of the world, how are you going to answer Him when he asks, "What are you going to do about it?"
1 The cease-fire in Gaza. I am reminded of a story about John Major, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom between 1990 and 1997. He was a great peacemaker - it was he that started the Northern Ireland peace process that Tony Blair took the credit for. The story goes that he found an ancient glass bottle that he rubbed and out popped a genie. "I am the genie of the bottle; you can have two wishes." "Two wishes," said John, "I thought it was supposed to be three." "No," said the genie, "That's lamps. Bottles only have junior genies and you only get the two."
"Fine, said John, fetching a map of the Middle East from his briefcase, "look at this map. I would like to bring peace between Israel and Palestine, but history is against me, what with 1948, 1967, 1973, the intifada, the settlements and real hatred between the two sides."
"Hang on a minute, " complained the genie, "I'm only a junior genie. That would be a tough one for the King of the genies. Haven't you got something a little simpler?"
John Major thought for a moment. He had been a supporter of Chelsea Football Club all his life, but they hadn't been Champions since 1955. "For my second wish I'd like to see Chelsea champions again."
The genie looked nonplussed. "Let me see that map again," he said.
The thing is Chelsea were champions again in 2005. How did it happen? Roman Abramovitch, the Russian Billionaire bought the club and ploughed a large fortune into it. One player alone cost him $50 million. I heard today that the British government is going to give £20 million in aid to Gaza. It sounds a lot of money until you compare it to the attempt by Manchester City football club to buy Kaka from AC Milan for £108 million plus £25 million for his agent and half a million a week for his wages.
Northern Ireland was solved because a lot of money was thrown at it. The EU subsidized the Irish Republic so that the Government there became confident enough to repeal the clauses in its constitution which laid claim to the North, and the US threw enough money at Northern Ireland so that there were jobs for Catholics as well as Protestants. The Palestinian problem will not go away until the Palestinians become prosperous.
2. Famine in Zimbabwe. Several solutions have been proposed. Quite a lot of Britishers would volunteer for an army to invade the country to remove the ruling elite. I remember seeing a television film starring Peter O'Toole called Rogue Male, based on the novel by Geoffrey Household. In it the O'Toole character tries to 'take out' Hitler with a rifle in 1939. You may remember that he failed, but many have proposed this solution for Mugabe. We have to remember that however brutal
Mugabe is now he was once the hero who forced the removal of the notorious Smith regime that had unilaterally declared independence from Britain. This racist regime is how the white man is seen in a lot of Africa. The country has just issued a one hundred trillion pound note which is worth about a dollar. Next week it will be worth less.
Again, whatever the political solution that eventually emerges in Zimbabwe, the people will need feeding, the infrastructure will need to be recreated, jobs will need to be provided. It will cost a lot of money.
3. Greed in Wall Street. The papers today are talking about a £200 billion bail out for British banks from the taxpayer. They are in trouble because of foolish lending, 80% of it going abroad. Bernie Madoff made off with $50 billion. Banks paid their executives crazy salaries and even larger bonuses. Those who were prudent and frugal are now paying the bills of those who were incautious and profligate. As ever people were seduced by the thought of easy money. The Bible says 'The love of money is the root of all evil'.
I am not against money, but it is simply a tool to make service go round. It is just a device to keep a record of what you have done for others and what they have done for you. When it becomes an end in itself disaster follows.
Do pray for all these issues but remember that as we point to others with our index finger, our middle and ring fingers and our pinkie point back at ourselves. Do we have the right attitude to money?