Sunday, February 20, 2011

Thoughts and Prayers

We have all heard it. Perhaps we have said it to a friend, family member or colleague faced with a loss or a trial. Perhaps we have posted it as a Facebook comment recently in response to a tragedy or trial. "You are in our thoughts and prayer." Here is the thing. There are at least two problems with that statement.
  1. There is no power in our thoughts. When have you ever thought something into being better or fixed or different at all?
  2. There is no immediacy in that statement. Truth told, you are doing nothing for them in that moment.

So let's fix those problems. First, drop the thoughts part. It isn't helpful. It isn't powerful. Quite frankly, it's lame. When I hear that from someone, I think sarcastically, "Gee, thanks."

Second, bring immediacy to the prayer part. What sounds more active -- "I will keep you in my prayers" or "Let's pray now?" Pray for that person right now, in the moment. If you are with them, put your arm around them and go to God in prayer. If you are on the phone with them, stop the conversation and pray for them.

One final yet critical point. We must pray in Jesus' name. Jesus Christ is the only mediator between man and God the Father (1 Timothy 2:5). Jesus gives us access to the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16). We have no power apart from Jesus and, for those of use who know Jesus, the indwelling Holy Spirit.

If you want to help and love that friend struggling through a trial, that family member in need of wisdom, that colleague dealing with a loss, pray. Pray for and with them now. Pray in the name of our Redeemer, Jesus. Don't worry about whether that friend, that family member, that colleague knows Jesus yet. Introduce them to your Savior in prayer. Leave "You are in our thoughts and prayers" to the greeting card crowd.