8 Reasons to Pray for First Responders

I confess that I write this post today after hearing about the death of a first-responder police sergeant who gave his life trying to save others in Thousand Oaks, California. As a former volunteer firefighter, I’m especially sensitive to this kind of tragedy. So, may I make a suggestion to you?

Every time you hear a siren, take time to pray. Here’s why:

  1. First responders are often traveling at fast speeds through traffic. Even the drive or ride to the scene can be risky. The siren sound says, “Move out of the way”—but not everyone hears it or responds to it.
  2. The first responders may be walking into danger. Running into it, actually, in order to rescue others.
  3. They all represent a family. Some are smaller or larger than others, but all may someday get the tragic call about the death of a loved one.
  4. They may be your church members. Or even your family. You may know the very people on their way to deal with something difficult.
  5. They may face incredible pain. We’ve heard far too many stories lately from responders whose job required them to walk into tragic scenes. The images are surely difficult to process.
  6. They may not be believers. Their lives are on the line, but they’re not ready for eternity. I don’t know how they deal with such tragedies without knowing God.
  7. They need wisdom. How do they best approach a criminal suspect? Or a club filled with college students when they hear shots fired? Or a fire that already seems out of control? Or a possible bomb on the street?
  8. They’re protecting you and your family, too. Despite all the controversies regarding police officers over the last few years, most first responders genuinely want to help. They would put themselves in risky situations for you, too.

So, I say it again: when you hear a siren, pray for the first responders.

You might even invite your small group or church to join you in praying, and then let the first responders know that believers are praying for them. You never know what God might do in those relationships.  


  • Pete Pharis says:

    Good words. I’ve worked hospital ER’s (I guess that qualifies as 2nd level encounter.) Many EMT’s are young. They gain experience in tragedies far faster than others their age. They are often the first person someone asks if their loved one will live. They are not payed well for their level of education, dedication, and stress. Everything they do is handed off to someone in the ER, often without proper recognition of lifesaving efforts. They will go home never knowing the end of the story for many of their patients. They may experience many hours of boredom and then go from 0 to crisis in moments. They treat people as patients until someone else calls them dead.

  • Pete Pharis says:

    I taught my daughters when they were young to pause and pray if we saw emergency lights or heard a siren.

    I’ve paused in the middle of a sermon when we heard sirens to pray and emphasize our interaction with the world around us.

  • Chuck Lawless says:

    All good thoughts, Pete. Thanks!

  • When I was 28, I had a brain aneurysm; I am 55 now. I had the aneurysm while at church. My family does not believe; therfore , they were not at church at the same time. My mother told me she was coming back from visiting my older brothers and sisters when she passed the ambulance, not knowing it was carrying me! Ever since then , every time I see or hear an ambulance, I pray for the driver and the patient for salvation and safety getting to the hospital. I appreciate Pete Pharis’s words. They give me a better understanding.

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