It is an unfortunate defect in my character that I am often cynical. I am working on my cynicism but I am skeptical the cynic will pass away anytime soon. Maybe this post has more to do with that reality than what’s really real.
Lately I have noticed an increase in the number of people asking for “thoughts and prayers” and even more so an upturn in people offering “thoughts and prayers” whenever tragedy strikes. The most skeptical of us think such promises are nonsense only the nonsensical would put any weight in. I leave such thinkers to their thoughts.
My interest at the moment is how often I fail to follow through on praying prayers. I try to be good about it. I have mentally committed to praying for someone right after any conversation that someone asks me for prayer, but even with that simple rule in place a complex and busy life sometimes means I fail. If I (The Minister!!!) fail, I can only assume others do as well.
It’s not that I think every prayer is answered, at least how we usually think of answering, but that a promise is a promise and when we make them about “thoughts and prayers” we are showing sympathy and telling someone that they will be thought of later, that when they feel lonely they are not alone because others have them on their minds. This is a promise of love. This is important.
It is also important, for those of us who believe there is a God in heaven that wants to hear from us, to bring before the Divine the concerns of our days and invite him into them. This has many effects, among them, sometimes God opens my eyes to ways I can help someone in trouble. Sometimes I pray for something to change, anything to change in a given situation, and when it does I can give thanks (I am working at killing the Chris-the-cynic who says it is probably just a coincidence that prayer preceded the answered prayer). At the very least I know that I have followed through on a promise, that I can honestly look the person in the eye and say, I prayed for you, you are not alone, you matter. When we are hurting, hearing that we matter can make a world of difference.
Whether prayer changes anything or not, whether we believe powerfully in prayer or not (and I hope we do) can we commit to following through with our thoughts and prayers when we offer them? Can we be praying prayers or heartfelt hearts if we say we will? It would do loads for our integrity, our self-confidence, for the love we show others, and maybe the love they can receive.
Pro-tip: making a little note on a phone, a reminder in whatever app you think will help you, is a really good way to remember to pray for a situation.
2 thoughts on “We need more praying prayers”
Thank you, Pastor Chris. One of my prayers is “for everybody I’ve ever said I would pray for, and also for everybody who has asked for our prayers.” Also I’ve written names in my ‘journal’ book, which I started doing around 2011, so at night if I can’t sleep, I pray “for everybody whose names are written in there”, or whoever the LORD brings to mind.
Writing them down is a great tip.