This week, Oklahomans faced one of the most horrific storms they have ever encountered. The EF5 tornado ravaged the town of Moore, Oklahoma and surrounding communities. Lives were lost and countless individuals were injured. As I watched the video footage on the news, I was saddened as I heard the stories told by those left behind. Little children witnessed scenes they should never have had to come in contact with. Men, women, boys, and girls are now searching for one book, one photo, or one memento to remind them of the life they once knew.

On the flipside, I have seen the heart of America band together. I have seen the flag raised. I have seen families pray together. And I know that through it all, Oklahoma will rebuild and their resiliency will shine through. The teachers who have become hometown heroes will keep praying. The citizens who keep digging through rubble to find just one more photograph will keep searching for the pieces of the puzzle that will enable them to put their lives back together. The rescue workers and clean-up crews will continue removing debris, serving up meals, and distributing clothing, food, and water to those in need.

While you and I may not be able to be there on the ground to assist with clean-up efforts, there is something that we can do. We can pray. Earlier today, I read a news article concerning the use of the hashtag #PrayforOklahoma. Sadly, the article implied that some people feel that God does not answer prayers uttered via Social Media sites, even going so far as to say that the people who post these hashtags simply do it to look like they have compassion on the ravaged areas. As of Tuesday afternoon, more than 75,000 people have used this hashtag in one of their tweets on Twitter. From President Obama to pop music icons, many people are showing their support for the citizens of Oklahoma through their prayers.

While I certainly cannot answer for all 75,000 of these individuals, I believe that God sees each and every Tweet. More than that, I know that He sees inside the hearts of man. The Lord told Samuel, “‘The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart’” (I Samuel 16:7 NIV). You see, God doesn’t care if we have long hair or short hair or if we wear the latest brand name clothes or the newest arrivals in the Goodwill. He sees beyond what we see when we look at a person or when we read someone’s tweet as it comes scrolling across the screen. He knows their heart. He knows if they have compassion for their fellow human being. He knows if they mean the prayers they post. He even knows if they truly pray for those involved in this natural disaster.

Many people through the years have had differing opinions on prayer and whether or not it is a worthwhile action. When I was born, I was born premature and lifeless. The doctors gave up on me. But my parents continued to pray. They didn’t read a formal prayer from a book. They didn’t recite some eloquent speech. They prayed two simple words: “Jesus help.” The doctors did not have an answer. All of their scientific studies could not explain why I began to cough like a little kitten and why I am sitting here today writing this blog. They certainly did not expect that I would make something of myself, saying that I would be nothing more than a vegetable if I did survive. Now that I have earned a Master of Science degree with a 4.0 GPA, I beg to differ. I do not say this to brag, but to show evidence to the fact that Matthew 21:22 (NIV) is absolutely true. It says, “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer." My parents believed, they asked, and they received. Bottom line: prayer works.

Through every trial, I am grateful that we can pray to the God who created us. He hears every single prayer, even the ones that are unspoken, never uttered, but remaining in our hearts. He loves each and every one of us so much that He gave His only Son. Jesus Christ died for us so that we could have eternal life. That is the only example of perfect love that this world has ever seen. He is watching over the precious people of Oklahoma as they begin to pick up the pieces of their lives. He is comforting the hearts of those who lost loved ones. He is bringing peace to an otherwise devastating scene.

No matter what you may be going through, whether it is a mental, physical, or emotional battle, Jesus Christ will help you persevere. Jesus Christ wants to be your strength when you are weak. All you have to do is ask Him. If you do not know Jesus, I want you to know that He loves you more than you could ever imagine. I want to challenge you to read John chapter 3. It will only take 3 minutes. These 3 minutes could change your life forever. It’s not about religion. It’s not about Christianity. It’s about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

In Christ’s Love,