Pray and Act

February 17, 2014

Last night I sat down for a minute to scroll through Facebook on my iPad. While enjoying pictures of friends' dinners and funny stories of their kids, I came across a newspaper article about a house fire in the Twin Cities where five of the seven children in the fire died. Their dad had tried to save all of them, but was only successful at getting two out.

As I’m reading the details, I gasp and whisper, “sweet Jesus,” unaware that my five-year-old daughter had just come in the room. Snuggling up next to me, she peers over my arm at my iPad.

“Whatcha reading, mom?”

Sighing, I look at her, deciding whether or not to tell her. What do you say?

Not wanting to scare her but wanting to be honest about the realities of this world, I try to explain:

“Sweetie, there was a fire the other night and some children died. Their dad tried to save them, but he couldn’t get to all of them.”

And all she can say is “oh.”
“What do you think we should do?” I say.
We talk about how we could send cards, get them things they might now need. All good ideas.

“But honey, what’s the FIRST thing we can always do to help right now?”

We talk about how we can pray. We talk about how Jesus is our comforter, even when we don’t personally know the people involved.

Even when we aren’t sure what to do, we can always start with prayer.

And so Jasmine and I clasp hands at our kitchen table, bow our heads and pray: For two little kids who were saved from a fire. For a dad who is grieving the loss of five of his children, struggling with the guilt that he couldn’t get to all of them in time.

The ache of which I can only imagine.

And sometimes we can be overwhelmed by everything we read, all that we see. If I’m not careful to filter the information constantly streamed my way, I can take in more than I can bear, more than I need to know.

But even so, I know that it is also my DNA -- and my privilege, really, as a Christian -- to stop and to notice. To not always keep scrolling, but to take the time to see things that are happening. To pray.

And then to do something. I can’t help with everything, but I can help with some things.

So last night, Jasmine offers to make a card for a dad whose heart is breaking. Her five-year-old way of being the hands of Jesus.

And this morning I will find out how to send it, along with some other practical things they might need. Like clothes, food, and resources. My way of being the feet of Jesus.

Together, doing something. Starting with prayer. Ending with action.

What or who is God asking you to pray for today? And then what is a practical action step you can take today to meet their need?

For more information on the story of this house fire and to see how you can help the family click the link here.


  1. Love this! Love that you were compelled to action and love that you made it a teachable moment for your daughter! Yes we cannot help all, but we can always help but one. : )

  2. I remember reading about this story. So heartbreaking. I simply cannot imagine. Praying that Jesus will wrap this man and his two children up in His loving arms.

    1. I know Barbie, it's so sad. I've been praying all week, it's nice to hear others are as well.

  3. I just teared up reading this. I love how you involved your daughter and how you both took thoughtful, kind action to deal with learning of a stranger's tragedy. Just beautiful!

    1. Thank you! Anytime I can include my kids, I try to. Blessings to you!

  4. I love this--> "Start with prayer. End with action." I usually just choose one, but what a powerful combination to do both! Showing your daughter how to give will have a lasting impact on her life in so many ways. It is hard to share these tragedies with our young children, but that is how they truly understand the beauty and importance of giving. Thank you for this beautiful lesson for all ages, Kendra!

    1. Thanks Candace! I certainly do want to shield my children from things, and often do, but it always surprises me how sensitive and giving they are towards others heartache when we let them know and ask them to help. Thanks for commenting!

  5. I remember this story or one similar to it. It broke my heart at the time. Thank you for the reminder to stop and pray Kendra.

  6. It is our privilege to stop and notice, I agree. And then to pray and do something. That is our faith in action. Thank you for noticing and for the great example of including your daughter in the noticing and in the praying and taking action. It is a good reminder to me to include my children in these acts of faith.

    1. Thanks for the comment Katie! It's true, so often I do things not even thinking about including my kids in the process. I'm trying to get better about this too :)