*Thoughts and prayers*... Do they do anything?

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*Thoughts and prayers*... Do they do anything?

Postby Stacie Cook » Sat Dec 05, 2015 8:47 pm

I read this article regarding the phrase 'thoughts and prayers' being used so often.... I thought it was worth sharing. I am posting just part of the article that really gets at the point....



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So the question then, is this: Is it prayer that is ineffectual, or the pray-ers?

The Prayer of the Righteous
For its part, the writers of the Bible are convinced that “The earnest prayer of the righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” (James 5:16). Notice James’ qualifications here. Though this verse is often pared down to a slogan as simple as “prayer works!”, James is making a nuanced point. When the prayer is earnest and the pray-er is righteous, you can expect big things.

Prayer is not a substitute for action, or even preparation for action. It’s something much more fluid and powerful.

So what does that mean for us? We, who don’t always feel very righteous? And for the prayers we offer on Twitter, where so little is actually earnest?

For that, we turn to Jesus, who paints a vivid picture in Matthew 6.

“‘And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.”

Are President Barack Obama, Senator Ted Cruz, Governor Jeb Bush and all the rest offering prayers thinking that “they will be heard because of their many words”? Do they shut the door and pray in secret along with their rhetoric? Let’s hope so. It’s impossible to know. All we can do is look to our own motives.

“I used to believe that prayer changes things. But now I know that prayer changes us and we change things.” Mother Teresa said that, and history has no record of anyone ever telling Mother Teresa they were sick and tired of her prayers.

Perhaps that’s because Mother Teresa understood the words of Jesus and James—that prayer is not a substitute for action, or even preparation for action. It’s something much more fluid and powerful. It is the holding of ourselves and others nearer to God, that the shalom of God might be made manifest in our lives. It’s not passive. On the contrary, God is in the business of creation, and those who love Him are joining Him every day in the work of redeeming all things. It’s a very active thing.

Perhaps it’s best to say that prayer and action are at their best when they are in harmony, and if we are serious when we say “our prayers are with you,” then our prayers must be in intimate relationship with redemptive work. Comfort for the afflicted. Justice for the innocent. Change for the future.

So maybe the question isn’t “do thoughts and prayers do any good?” but “What kind of good do we intend to do with our thoughts and prayers?” Because whatever value there might be in telling God how sorry we are about our broken world, there can be little doubt that there’s more value in asking Him to give His people a desire to heal it.


Read more at http://www.relevantmagazine.com/current ... o7skjEB.99
If you want to meet God... then the cross is the place to which you go. - Alistair Begg
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Re: *Thoughts and prayers*... Do they do anything?

Postby spongebob » Sun Dec 06, 2015 6:16 am

I think the most salient thing in that article is the statement that prayer is not a substitute for action.
Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones.
~Bertrand Russell

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Re: *Thoughts and prayers*... Do they do anything?

Postby Stacie Cook » Sun Dec 06, 2015 4:33 pm

I agree.


Reminds me of a story....
I am likely forgetting parts of it, but this is what I recall of it...
There is a huge flood in a town and people are evacuating. A man refuses to leave his home. Eventually waters are so high he ends up on his roof. He has been prayng to God for an answer.
Along comes someone on a boat telling the man to get in the boat. The man says no. He says he has been praying to God for an answer.
Along comes another person on a boat. They offer help. The man refuses saying he is waiting on God to provide help.
Finally a helicopter tries to rescue the man. Again he refuses saying he is waiting on God.
The man eventually drowns and dies.
Upon death he asks God why God did not answer his prayer.
God says, "I did. I sent 2 boats and a helicopter."

Again I may be getting details wrong, but this story reminds me that prayer is not a substitute for action.
If you want to meet God... then the cross is the place to which you go. - Alistair Begg
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Re: *Thoughts and prayers*... Do they do anything?

Postby Stacie Cook » Sun Dec 06, 2015 4:36 pm

Ah, here we go.... Found it...



The Drowning Man
A fellow was stuck on his rooftop in a flood. He was praying to God for help.

Soon a man in a rowboat came by and the fellow shouted to the man on the roof, "Jump in, I can save you."

The stranded fellow shouted back, "No, it's OK, I'm praying to God and he is going to save me."

So the rowboat went on.

Then a motorboat came by. "The fellow in the motorboat shouted, "Jump in, I can save you."

To this the stranded man said, "No thanks, I'm praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith."

So the motorboat went on.

Then a helicopter came by and the pilot shouted down, "Grab this rope and I will lift you to safety."

To this the stranded man again replied, "No thanks, I'm praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith."

So the helicopter reluctantly flew away.

Soon the water rose above the rooftop and the man drowned. He went to Heaven. He finally got his chance to discuss this whole situation with God, at which point he exclaimed, "I had faith in you but you didn't save me, you let me drown. I don't understand why!"

To this God replied, "I sent you a rowboat and a motorboat and a helicopter, what more did you expect?"
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Re: *Thoughts and prayers*... Do they do anything?

Postby Simplyme » Tue Dec 08, 2015 9:59 am

"An omniscient god would have known that the man would refuse help from the rowboat, the motorboat, and the helicopter. Why would an omniscient god send methods of rescue he knew in advance would be rejected?"

Mr.OzAtheist.
I find it rather amusing, when thought of as ignorant or stupid(though I can be on many subjects). Especially by those who believe in a deity up in heaven watching our every move, and rewarding or punishing us after we have expired.
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