I have some mixed emotions after realizing last night there was all this news discussion based on a newspaper in NY that quoted Republicans about their thoughts and prayers. I won’t even quote the headline because of its intent. I’m not going to focus on the content of the story because we are not going to have a political debate here. This has sparked a debate in my head for which you have the pleasure, or regret, of reading. ha!
For one, why should I listen to a newspaper that wants to call out the name of God in vain because of its disgust with Republicans? I don’t consider myself of any party affiliation, but it doesn’t take me long to see biased reporting… and I certainly do not desire to seek it out. A worldly newspaper that cares not about the name of my God is not worthy of a change of my approach. We might as well get thicker skin because things are not going to get better in this world with its approach towards God.
Secondly, I do believe that sometimes saying you will pray for someone can look like apathy to someone who does not care about God or has a negative mindset. Words are becoming less meaningful these days. People say “Hi. How are you?” or “How are you doing today?” and I know most don’t even mean it. We can apply that approach to “I love you” too. But just because someone else doesn’t mean those words doesn’t mean that I should stop publicly saying them.
Do I stop saying, “I am praying for you.” on Facebook or in person to someone for fear of what people might think? Absolutely not. I will pray and I will tell them I am praying. I will also pray for the person next door to me, and the ones I encounter during my day. Just because someone doesn’t believe in God doesn’t mean they shouldn’t hear those words. If we stopped doing things like this because we are afraid of offending people, then we might as well stop talking about Jesus.
My Facebook “friends” list is compiled of way more than just Christians. Almost half of my friends are from high school and from previous work and some are from days long ago before I became a Christian. I can’t tell you how many times I have been messaged by friends who asked me to pray for them because of their spouses, health, or some other important matter in which they did not know where to turn next. I post random things on my FB wall, but I am mostly aware of the spiritual impact of my words to my “friends.” If it were not for the “ministry” portion of my perspective on FB, I would have already removed my account because it can get exhausting.
Now I know there are circumstances where you have to be sensitive to what you say based on the situation. I believe it is important to understand the story of the person before specifically giving them advice or offering help in any way, including prayer. But that shouldn’t stop you or me from telling someone that you will pray for them. Even for people who are seeking comfort in some way because of their situation will obtain comfort from those people that they know/do not know who tell them they are praying about their situation. It is not wrong to say it. It is wrong to say it without meaning it and it is wrong to say it in the wrong circumstance.
These days, too many people are shacked up in their little box waiting for Jesus to return or prepping their doomsday shelter for the end times. In the meantime, other people are dying without knowing the true character of our God. God is love. And love has to be expressed more than with just words. Love is an action.
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. -Romans 12:9-15
Photo, edited. Original:
“Grace1918photographEnstrom” by Eric Enstrom – Photograph by Eric Enstrom published in the United States in 1918 (and therefore public domain).. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.