"Lord, please give us more luxury flats."
Prayed no one ever.
Living with a direct view of the Grenfell tower, watching the inferno devouring a countless storey building as I sat there praying for my friends inside has changed my perspective. Every time I open my curtains I see a massive burnt out shell. More importantly I see the need for change.
I am used to hearing terrible stories about social housing, unsympathetic and unkind landlord decisions but never before have these led to such terrible tragedy. The system has been creaking from lack of funding for a long time but it's OK because we have renewed Trident so we're able to defend ourselves in a nuclear battle.
Some have suggested what we need is a Day of Rage. But I'm pretty sure that the flames last week did all the raging and ravaging that I ever want to see. I have never come across an emotion that wasn't best first given in prayer to the Lord:
Joy we can express in an outbreak of spontaneous praise.
Sadness can be a deep sigh or tears shared before the Lord.
Grief can be expressed in so many ways including a spontaneous breaking down in tears with the Lord.
Anger, frustration and fierce feelings can be shouted or directed at God but once shared with him, that often leaves me with peace and a sense of new direction and clarity.
When did rage ever get anyone anywhere? It only leads to more destruction. Baying for blood is what animals do. Anger is best directed at God and he will make of it what he wills.
Anger is best directed at God and he will make of it what he wills
The thing that will really make a difference now is prayer. Prayer for justice, prayer for peace, prayer for the critically ill so there will be an end to the death toll. Prayer for us to see society as it is and repentance for our part in the self-centred greed where we fill countless buildings with our surplus. Yes, I understand people gave items generously to help but doesn't it strike you as strange that we all have so much that we don't need in the first place?
When he cleansed the temple, Jesus threw over the tables, not the money changers. If we join a day of rage who would we be raging at? The Council? The Prime Minister? They just represent the things we vote for. Do we pick out a person who we feel is largely responsible, a scapegoat, as if once he or she has been imprisoned then we will all be able to sleep in our beds safe in the knowledge this will not happen again? I think it's a bit deeper than this, a product of a society in which profit is more important than people. We all participate in this society where the poor are treated poorly because they can't afford to defend themselves. Justice costs money.
Yes I am angry but I have been angry for a long time about the injustice I see before me. I am angry that the rich get richer and believe me, we see the rich in Notting Hill. However, I am not going to lay all the blame on Theresa May or anyone else who is foolish enough to have the courage to try and lead this selfish country of ours. I am taking it to the Boss, to the King of Kings, and I am making my requests clear. "'Vengeance is mine,' says the Lord, 'I will repay.'"
This is why I’m calling for a Day of Prayer on Wednesday instead of a Day of Rage. Join me.
Gaby Doherty lives opposite Grenfell Tower. Her husband Sean was the first Church of England priest on the scene after the fire.
For more information on the planned Day of Prayer for 21st June, visit lcm.org.uk. Those who can't be there in person can use the hashtag #dayofprayer
Image Credit: Alex Baker photography