As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) releases a groundbreaking and comprehensive report detailing the impacts of climate change as “severe, pervasive, and irreversible,” young evangelicals across the United States are coming together to pray for urgent and responsible climate action to protect life and defend their future. Organized by the Young Evangelicals for Climate Action, the Evangelical Environmental Network, and Renewal: Students Caring for Creation, prayer events are being held across the Nation — and on more than 20 Christian campuses — in recognition of April 3 as the 2014 National Day of Prayer for Climate Action.
While evangelicals are not typically associated with climate action, YECA spokesperson Ben Lowe points out,“Climate disruption is not just a scientific or political issue — it’s first and foremost a moral issue and biblical issue … It’s about protecting life and, as evangelicals, we’re particularly concerned about the ways our pollution and political inaction is affecting the poor and those who are most vulnerable.”
Communities around the world are already experiencing the negative impacts of climate change. The new IPCC reports details how the poorest countries are being seriously affected by climate change, with severe consequences to global food security, human health, and economic development. The poor will not be the only ones influenced by climate change, as IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri says, "Nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change.”
It’s when facing an obstacle of this magnitude that our faith matters most. As an outpouring of our faith, it is only natural to call upon God for wisdom and endurance, praying that we can fulfill our calling to love our neighbors and protect God's creation. Throughout this, it would be wise to lean on the words Paul penned in his epistle to the Philippians: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."
Recognizing that God is in control and that God has empowered us to change the world, our eyes are opened to how America has a unique opportunity to lead in combating climate change. Facing another crisis of gigantic proportions, one of our nation’s greatest leaders had this to say about prayer: “I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go.” Abraham Lincoln recognized the need for prayer to save the Union. In the face of the ever-worsening climate crisis, we need prayer not just to save our country, but our world.
Join us on April 3 to pray for climate action. Pray for those affected by the impacts of climate change, pray for our political leaders, and pray for repentance. Students on Christian campuses across the country are gathering to pray, and with the advent of ClimatePrayerUS.org, a social media presence will continue to mobilize and empower prayer on climate action for months to come. While climate change often brings feelings of despair, our faith in Christ offers a desperately needed message of hope. With climate change continuing to affect every person on earth, and as the IPCC report indicates, ever more severely, Christians around the world are presented a great opportunity to love our neighbor. Let's take a first step in loving our neighbor, by praying for America to seize the opportunity to invest in clean energy, create green jobs, and provide a hopeful future for generations to come.
Drew Robinson is a leader in the creation care movement, having served as Director of the Good Steward Campaign. Currently, Drew is working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a consultant with the ENERGY STAR Congregations Network, organizing worship facilities nationally to benchmark utility data and initiate energy efficiency projects.
Image: Man praying for the earth, Gandolfo Cannatella / Shutterstock.com