What are they going to do? What have they done? We don’t want them.
If you’ve been on any form of social media in the past six months or so, or have otherwise engaged in discussion regarding all of the recent atrocities that have afflicted our country, you’ve surely seen one of these statements or questions, or maybe even had one directed your way. I have. And, frankly, it’s really hard to hear.
Being brought up in church, one of the things that’s been ingrained in my mind is the importance of prayer. If you’ve spent any amount of time in church, you’ve surely heard the following, or something similar: “Have you prayed about it?” “I’m praying for you.” “Let’s pray about that.”
And here’s what it boils down to. Prayer is important. Not to everyone, I get that. But to Christians, it is. It’s extremely important. The Bible tells us, us being believers in Christ, in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, to, “Pray without ceasing.” (KJV) Luke 6:28 says, “bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” (NIV) And perhaps, most poignantly for our current situations, Psalm 5:2, “Hear my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray.” (NIV)
We’re crying for help.
The word pray is used in the King James Version of the Bible 313 times. It’s important. It’s a big deal. It’s a very important aspect of faith for Christians. It means something.
Listen, I understand that someone saying they’re praying for something or someone seems like nothing but hot air. And in some cases, it just may be. Of course there are people out there who throw around that far-too-often-heard phrase, “I’m praying for you.” and mean absolutely nothing by it. They say it as a means to acknowledge a challenge or tragedy, and nothing more.
But that’s not the majority of Christians.
Most of us, when we tell you we’re praying for you, or when we ask if we can pray for you, mean it, and we follow through. It’s more than just a pleasantry that is shrugged off and tossed by the wayside. Most of us take prayer very seriously.
You don’t have to believe it’s going to work. You don’t have to want our prayers. You can say praying hasn’t changed anything. You can get upset when the first course of action for many Christians is to say they’re going to pray about a situation. All of those reactions are completely understandable.
But what really needs to be understood about Christians and prayer is that it is not, I say again, IT IS NOT, inaction. I know it may feel like it. I mean, how hard is it to take five seconds, stop what you’re doing, mutter some little sentiment and move on with your day, right?
But prayer is SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT. When Christians pray, we are falling on our knees before our God, and calling out to Him on your behalf, on behalf of our country, on behalf of our world. That’s not always a physical action, of course. You won’t see Christians just dropping to their knees every time they call out to the Lord. It’s not socially acceptable. But though you’re not seeing it happen in front of you, it’s happening in our spirits. We are visualizing ourselves kneeling at the throne of God, begging, pleading, crying, for you. For your situation. For your pain.
That doesn’t negate the need for us to act further, please don’t get me wrong. Our action cannot stop with prayer. We must do more. But please, don’t belittle the actions of a praying Christian. You may not see the results of a prayer. You may not notice a change in your situation because someone prayed for you. You really may not care less.
But please, do not negate our prayers. Do not condemn us for praying first and physically acting second. Do not think our Christian work stops when we say, “I’ll pray for you.” Because if anything, for us, praying is just the first step.
I’d take the recognition of a prayer over a Facebook rant about how messed up everything in our country is, over a 140 character hashtag-riddled blurb on Twitter, over a blog reminding us of what dark, sad, challenging times we’re in.
Because prayer brings us hope. Prayer brings us light. Prayer brings us solace in times of pain and peace in times of disorder.
Praying doesn’t fix everything. It can’t. We live in a fallen world. But then again, nothing fixes everything. So what does prayer hurt?