Saturday, 7 October 2017

"Thoughts and Prayers" Revisited

“Faith without deeds is dead.”
James 2:26

So, I am a little confused about something. What’s with this “Thoughts and Prayers” phrase that one often hears touted everywhere? The “Prayers” part I get, so long as it’s genuine and not just another pat christianese mantra, but the “Thoughts” part? What’s with that? What does that even mean?

Someone’s going through some difficulty in their life, and the pseudo feel-good answer they get from a would-be well-wisher is “Thoughts and Prayers?” Am I missing something here? If we are men and women of faith, then by all means let’s pray for one another. Obviously that’s even biblical. “The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working]” (James 5:16; Amplified).

Yes, by all means let’s be people of prayer.

But what good are “Thoughts” in dealing with someone’s crisis or misfortune? Are good thoughts better than bad thoughts or no thoughts? Some poor single mom can’t afford to feed her kids, or someone is sick and/or dying, or unemployed, or depressed and burned out; are my “Thoughts” about their predicament going to change anything? “Prayers” will, if it pleases the Lord; but “Thoughts?” Sorry if this sounds a little crass, but “Thoughts and Prayers” seems somewhat hokey-pokey to me.

“Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” (James 2: 15-17; NIV)

In other words, forget the “Thoughts” part and actually do something.

Maybe this saying/mantra needs to be reworded. As suggested by the cartoon above and by James 2, perhaps we should scrap the “Thoughts and Prayers” in favour of “Deeds and Prayers.” Perhaps instead of just thinking about a problem someone has, we actually go and do something about it. No, God isn’t calling us to save the world, but as proof of our faith, perhaps He is calling us to do our little part in the corner of this rock called Earth that He’s planted us in. Someone once said, “Bloom where you are Planted.” In other words, don’t just have good “Thoughts” for someone. Bloom and make a difference where you are, but do something. Words and "Thoughts" alone are cheap.

Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled by men” (Matthew 5: 13; NIV).

“Thoughts” alone are like salt that has lost its saltiness, “It is no longer good for anything.” Forget “Thoughts and Prayers” and start thinking (no pun intended) “Deeds and Prayers.”

The “Prayers” of true faith will always be accompanied, not with “Thoughts,” but with deeds and action. Just thinking (just having good "Thoughts") is useless unless it leads to doing good.

Yes, do something; don’t just think about it, unless of course, you only want others to share their good "Thoughts" with you and do nothing to help you in your predicament if the shoe were on the other foot. I guess it all comes down to the proverbial Golden Rule. "Thoughts and Prayers?" Hmm. 😕

1st Cartoon Source: Unknown (via Facebook)
2nd Cartoon Source: © 2016 Kristian Nygard

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