Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Prayer Thing

Today I saw someone asking for prayers for firefighters and families out west. It got me thinking about those who are not in the immediate vicinity. It could very well be that prayer is the most immediate and practical thing they could offer.

They might be able to do more, though, depending on the circumstances, and options available. Maybe the families need money for food or clothing or for a place to stay. Prayer is good, but the money might be better. At least more immediate and practical.

It feels to me that prayer offered is sometimes a cop-out. Instead of it being an "and," it becomes an "it's all I got." 

Is it REALLY all you got? Maybe there are times it is. But my guess there are many more times you could do more, be more, give more.

People say "trust in prayer." If everyone is praying - but not actively doing anything else - who is going to do that "something" else?

I sometimes feel like the "prayer thing" is pushing off responsibility for another/a situation onto another. What it is in all practicality is prayer for someone else to take care of it.

I got to thinking that perhaps prayer is categorized in the wrong way. Instead of it being the automatic, first response, it should be an AND response, and ONLY used in a solo way if, and only IF, it is truly the only thing you feel capable of in that situation.

People can help others more. They have to want to, though, and I think that can be a huge obstacle to overcome. You can do $1, and it can matter. You can forgo a Starbucks, and give $5 or more to someone who can't afford a roof over their head. 

Even if prayer is a currency of some sort, people cannot trade it for the necessities. It can't pay the electric bill. It doesn't put food in their stomach. It doesn't pay their medical bills. 

People need the results of prayer, and if you are unwilling to help a stranger get what they tangibly need, what makes you think someone else will? And if you think others will, how about helping to find them?

There are many people who have told me they appreciate prayer. The thing is, though, that when they have found themselves up against "it" and struggling, it is one of the LAST things they want to hear - regardless of how well-intentioned. So, in case you think this only about me, please - think again.

In a time of crisis, prayer will likely be welcome by most. But what might also be appreciated, and perhaps even in a bigger way, is tangible help. 

Never say you can't help. There is always something you could do. And if you have $1, a person without it will likely think it helpful. 

You may not understand. But you don't have to, and hopefully you never will find yourself in circumstances that have you learn the hard way all of the things that all too many face, and all too few understand.

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