“Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects.” (James 5: 16)
I know we like to say, these days, that we send our “thoughts” as well as our prayers, to those who have suffered some loss or tragedy. I just heard this phrase, “We send our thoughts and prayers,” in connection with the recent mass shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. But let me say this out loud, even if it’s not all that PC: It’s pretty cheap to send “thoughts,” because they come and go whether we like it or not, whereas “prayers” take a bit of work. And mind you, I’m saying this mainly to myself, because I know that when I say that I send my “thoughts” as well as my prayers, I often neglect the second part. Because that part, the prayer-part, takes more work.
But let me really pray, this morning, just a bit, for anyone I happen to have heard of recently, in need of prayer. And let me tell them outright that I send up my prayers for them, to God, rather than my “thoughts” and prayers, to them. I know, this may sound pointless or even unfair, because there is nothing “bad” in having “thoughts” of people in need. But, as I already mentioned, I need to say this for myself today, lest I dismiss myself from the responsibility of really praying for people, rather than just “thinking” about them. And the difference is, letting God into the picture of my relationship with them. I can think “about” people, which is a kind of thing that remains between me and them. But I can pray “for” them “to” God, which is a kind of thing that lets a Third Party, namely, God, into our picture, ever more powerful than us. So let us pray for one another, because He can help, – in ways that we, and our mere “thoughts,” cannot.