The Dallas Morning News "Texas Faith Blog" wonders: "Should we pray for rain?"
William McKenzine writes:
With the drought creating havoc across Texas, including leading to brutal fires in Central Texas, it's not uncommon to hear people either jokingly or seriously assert that they are going to pray for rain. Should Texans or, for that matter, others afflicted by drought pray for rain? If so, how would you pray? And what would you expect? If not, why wouldn't you pray for rain?
He then posted a number of short pieces from religious types around the area.
Katie Sherrod was the lone Episcopalian, and submitted this essay that gracefully represents an Episcopal viewpoint.
KATIE SHERROD, Independent writer/producer and progressive Episcopalian activist, Fort Worth
There's an old Texas saying -- "Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance."
Cynics might say the same thing about praying for rain. They would be wrong. A prayer is about much more than the single thing being prayed for.
The Book of Common Prayer offers this prayer for rain on page 828:
43. For Rain
O God, heavenly Father, who by your Son Jesus Christ
hast promised to all those who seek your kingdom and its
righteousness all things necessary to sustain their life: Send
us, we entreat you, in this time of need, such moderate rain
and showers, that we may receive the fruits of the earth, to
our comfort and to your honor; through Jesus Christ our
It is much used in Episcopal churches these days, indeed, wherever Episcopalians gather.
When I was a little girl in drought-stricken West Texas, I thought "Let us pray for rain" was a regular part of the liturgy. When one sees humans and animals, indeed all living things suffering in the heat and the drought, who would not be moved to prayer? For those who believe, it is a way to take action, a way to seek help for those suffering.
But praying is just one part of what it means to be God's hands, feet and mouth in the world.
Praying does not mean other actions shouldn't be taken as well, from such simple acts as putting water outside for birds and other creatures to more complex actions such as water conservation, which in urban settings might mean replacing water-hungry lawns with xeriscaping or setting up rain-capturing systems. It means finding ways to help the volunteer fire fighters who are coping with the massive wildfires across the state, and -- not to be Captain Obvious here- it means taking responsibility for being careful not to start new fires by doing careless things such as throwing cigarette butts out of car windows or burning trash.
It means being aware we are our sisters' and brothers' keeper and how we treat the world around us affects more people than just us.
So yes, I pray for rain. At the very least, I am comforted by being still enough to sense the numinous. I am inspired and renewed in my desire to do what I can to help the situation in my immediate vicinity. And more than once, I've been rained on.