Dec. 13, 2017

I'll Pray For You

This time of year a lot of people are really hurting. Whatever is eating them during the rest of the year is exacerbated ten fold or more during “the holidays.” So, here’s a thing…

Frankly I wish people would stop saying, "I'll pray for you," if you don't mean it. (I don't mean for me specifically.) If you do mean it, message them, and actually maybe write the prayer in your message, or video chat with them, or give a call, or if possible invite them out for coffee. But it seems as if it's more of a panacea that someone feels obligated to offer when someone else is in a world of hurt. (As in, "Oh golly, I don't know what to say, so I'll say I'm praying for you... Whew, that was close. So uncomfortable. I've said my bit; now I'm off the hook.") 

Or a hundred "Amen" responses on a post. Same thing. 

And honestly personally there are some people I'd rather not have praying for me, since I'm not sure just what or who you're praying to. Especially the remark, "Prayers TO you." There is no power in YOU in a prayer, nor do we direct the prayer TO the recipient of the hoped for resolve or answer. It is God (the Triune - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Three in One) alone who has the power to answer prayer. Prayer is not magical manipulation of some genii in the sky! It is, for one thing, the surrender of a perceived need to the will of the Almighty. 

Human needs have to be met on many levels. Substituting an empty remark for someone's deep need may do more harm than good. This reminded me of 1 John 3:16-18 "By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”

And this "world’s goods” may consist of someone who will listen prayerfully and gently, and not just offer a quick fix. A friend for your soul!

Our culture is so full of empty words and empty promises that mean nothing, especially on social media. And this is one manifestation of it. Something not to be toyed with. 

Just had to get that off my chest.