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’m thinking today, 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. “Praying for someone else is like shedding blood,” I read somewhere, and it rings true to me.

There is of course nothing “bad” in having “thoughts” of people in need. But I need to note this distinction between thoughts and prayers, 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.