Thoughts And Prayers….
By Dr. Mike Murphy
With each passing tragedy, we watch as so many take to social media to offer their thoughts and prayers. To give their heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of those who were injured, or whose life was tragically taken. To ask the Lord to bring peace to our nation, at a time when that peace seems to be at a growing distance from us.
But with each recent prayer offered for the devastation we see, I hear more and more people mocking our thoughts and prayers. Telling everyone who will listen, that their thoughts and prayers are useless. Letting all loudly know, they do not want to hear, or desire to see, our thoughts and prayers being offered. That action, not our prayer, is what is now needed. And this mocking movement has now become so strong, we even see ministers joining in. Quick in their efforts to make sure all hear, that if “thoughts and prayers” are all we are willing to offer, to just keep silent, and keep our thoughts and prayers to ourselves.
As I read each of these comments, my heart sinks. And with each of their mocking words, I find that it is the presence of my knees that is needed more than ever. Realizing that the heartbreak of each of these tragedies has yet to end, but continues in each of their words. Knowing that the damage from each bullet or bomb, earthquake or hurricane, carry no more destruction that what we hear in each of their mocking words. And as the Lord fills my mind and my heart with the truth of each situation, I soon realize that my thoughts and prayers are exactly what this nation needs more of.
To say that each tragedy we see does not need our thoughts and prayers, brings us face to face with someone who does not understand the power that prayer holds. That does not understand the purpose that each prayer brings. And face to face with someone who does not realize that the action of His hand holds more hope and change, than the actions of our hands could ever begin to bring.
Prayer offers real hope, because prayer finds us in direct communication with a very real God. Prayer that brings us into personal and conscious contact with our Father, the Creator and Director of this universe. Who daily holds in His hands the ability to do real work in the heart and mind of man. And who alone holds the wisdom to give real answers to the questions that man so often has. Prayer not only finds us in communication with the One who holds all the answers, it finds us in fellowship with the only One who can direct us toward the needed actions.
Those who do not want our “thoughts and prayers”, so quickly forget that prayer can only be sought in faith(James 1:6). Finding us turning to God for answers without doubts that He holds those answers. Prayer that is not only grounded in the depths of our faith, but finds us calling on His name(John 16:23), as we seek a power of healing and hope that only the Holy Spirit can bring(Romans 8:26). Knowing that within the wickedness of this world is found no desire to pray(Psalm 10:4), but within the hearts of those who call Him by name, a desire for us to turn to Him in prayer will always be present(Luke 11:1).
When tragedy comes our way, we pray not because He is a passing thought, but when we find ourselves staring tragedy in the face, He stands as our only thought. Knowing that with each prayer we seek His favor, pouring out our soul, and crying out to Him as our greatest desire is to draw Him near(Psalm 73:28). Praying He will hold us close, not only through the loss we feel, but close enough to hear each word from Him of the guidance we seek. Guidance that will not leave us acting impulsively by the action of our own hand today, but guidance that will steady and correct our path as we seek to continue to follow His hand tomorrow.
Thoughts and prayers that have us remembering the words of Paul that tell us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”(Philippians 4:6-7). Words that fill our thoughts and consume our prayers, because in the midst of any tragedy we might face, leave us worrying about nothing, but praying about everything. Words that leave us praying without ceasing(1 Thessalonians 5:17), because we know that in Him, alone, we will find the answer to all things. Even the answers to the tragedies in front of us, that we just cannot understand.
Our thoughts and prayers are not just mere words in passing, but are our petition to God on the behalf of those we hurt and feel sorrow for. Prayers that not only let God know the tragedy we see, but where we stand, and ask for His direction on where our stand should be. Prayers that finds us in the face of devastation, humbling admitting to our Lord, that He is greater than we are ever capable of being. Prayers that know the best outcome will be found in the guidance and patience of His will, not in the impulsive reaction of our own will. Prayer, that seeks in the midst of the tragedy and chaos we see around us, to align our actions and our words fully with our Lord’s will (1 John 5:14-15).
So the next time you see tragedy come to the lives of those around you, or to our nation, do not hesitate to offer your thoughts and prayers. Because each offer sees us placing our trust in His hands, not thinking the answer will be found in our own. Knowing that the peace and comfort so desperately needed for those the tragedy has brought hurt and agony to, will and can only be found in His arms, unable to be found in our own. And knowing that the answers we seek so we will not face this same tragedy tomorrow, will only be found in us seeking His perfect wisdom, not in thinking our own failed logic holds all the solutions. And as you offer your thoughts and prayers, if you hear someone mocking you for doing so, let that person know, they are also in your thoughts and prayers. Because their words show you, it is not His Word that is guiding them, it is their own.
“When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.” Psalm 56:3