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FIRST-PERSON: A time of prayer and action for Nepal

EDITOR’S NOTE: David Platt is president of the International Mission Board.

RICHMOND, Va. (BP) — As soon as I heard news about the earthquake in Nepal, I immediately thought of the people I met and the faces I saw just over a year ago, when I was walking on trails and sides of mountains in the area where the quake hit.

As I thought of the massive physical need that was already there on top of the massive spiritual need, and realized that an earthquake of this magnitude would have devastating effects across the region, I was drawn immediately to my knees. I cried out to God for His mercy and His might to be made known among the people in that area.

I’m also compelled to challenge you to think about how you can respond to this news. How can you do more than just flip the channel or turn to the next website when you see images showing what is going on in Nepal?

I encourage you, first and foremost, to pray. Don’t underestimate the privilege that we’ve been given in prayer and the power that we have in participating with God in what He’s doing in Nepal right now through prayer. God has ordained prayer as a means by which we participate with Him in what He’s doing in the world.

So pray. Pray like it matters:

— Plead for God to show mercy and grace to the Nepali people. Plead for the church in Nepal, in the middle of the challenges that surround them, to be salt and light. Pray they will be strengthened in every way — physically, emotionally and spiritually — that they might be able to show and share God’s love and His Gospel in the middle of this.

— Pray for those who are without Christ, that the hope of Christ would become clear to them in these days.

— Pray for the massive physical needs that surround both believers and unbelievers.

— Pray for wisdom in the efforts under way to provide long-term relief to individuals and families that desperately need it.

I also challenge you to think through how you can use your resources to help the situation in Nepal. Baptist Global Response, the Southern Baptist humanitarian organization that partners with IMB, is on the ground in Nepal right now. They are working to find how we can best address short-term relief needs with long-term relief goals.

Providentially, just a couple of months ago our Baptist Global Response leaders were in Kathmandu, training partners in disaster relief. So they are prepared and putting what they learned into practice right now. They need our support.

Finally, as we think about the needs of the world in a broader way, I realize this is a challenging and difficult time to actually go to Nepal. But this event might be a wake-up call in your life to realize in a fresh way that there are urgent physical and spiritual needs around the world.

Think through this question: “How can I live my life here to get the Gospel there?” Maybe that means being more open to going on a short-term trip. It may mean developing relationships in other parts of the world so when something like this happens, you can draw on them for the spread of the Gospel.

How can you spend your life with greater urgency to get the Gospel to those who need it most?

Don’t just watch the news. Respond to the news according to the leadership of God’s Spirit in your life, that God’s glory might be made known amid some of the darkest and most difficult places in the world.

Baptist Global Response has released $50,000 for initial relief efforts in the aftermath of Nepal’s massive earthquake. BGR’s response provides hurting people with basic survival needs like water, shelter, food and healthcare. To learn more, go to gobgr.org/.

Watch David Platt’s challenge to Southern Baptists:

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  • David Platt