There is a perception, I think, that pastors are people who know God better than other people. I think this is a dangerous perception to have for two reasons, 1. being a pastor is a vocation, and certainly pastors have felt God's presence in our lives as we have sought ordained ministry, but that doesn't mean we don't have to work to stay close to God. We have to pray on our own, we have to struggle and wrestle with questions about faith and theology, we have to weep and wonder. 2. People who are pastors should never feel that they are somehow unable to attain a closeness to God that only "pastors" can achieve. That's not true.
Having said that, I want to talk a bit about how strongly I have felt God speaking to me this week and I am wrestling with God is calling me to do about it. In order to explain, I have to go back a little bit... In seminary my friend Nick, a dear soul, one of my best friends on earth, once prayed over our lunch with this simple prayer, "Lord we thank you for this food, and as we prepare to eat it we are mindful of those who are without food today and we ask that you would provide for them in your mercy, Amen." (Sorry, Nick, if I misquoted it, but that is almost exactly what you said, I'm fairly certain.) I never forgot that prayer, because it touched me so much. How appropriate it is to pray for the hungry before we ourselves eat. It humbles us, reminds us not to take things for granted. Since I heard that prayer, I have begun to pray it on my own before I eat a meal. I don't pray before every meal I eat, but when I do, I almost always pray for those who are without food, that God would provide for them.
Over the past week or so, as I have been reading and studying the worldwide food crisis, I have found myself praying for the hungry in our world a lot. It has been there, in the back of my mind, all the time. It's very weird, and I don't know what God is saying to me. Is God calling me to pray, night and day, for the hungry? Is God calling me to write prayers about hunger for other pastors to use? To do more research? I'm not sure, but I know that for now, I will continue to pray for the hungry in our world. More on this later....
For now, read this article in the NYT... it's amazing, and heartbreaking.