I’ll Be Praying For You

This post is not to point a finger at any individual, and I mean to offend no one by writing it. I apologize in advance for the colorful language contained.

“I am not real religious, don’t really believe in those clichés that people say in these situations. So please, remember that if you want to reply.”
This was typed by an individual who has had a rough go of things in the last few months. It broke my heart to read about this person’s hardship; and it also made me embarrassed and left me feeling a little bit like a jackass. Why you ask? Because I couldn’t refute that too many times we reduce things down to cliches.
When someone is going through a hardship or loss what is the first thing we usually reach for? “You’re in my thoughts and prayers.” “There’s a reason for everything.” “Remember, God is there.” “He works everything for good.” There are many other pat answers that we go to in someone’s time of need. I’ve been on both sides in my life, and I know the bitterness that can come when it seems that someone is just spouting words to make themselves feel better without actually taking the time to help you in your need.
Think about the person in need; they’ve been devastated by whatever has happened or they’ve asked for you to reach out and help and all that is being offered is a thought and a prayer? The person still stuck in a dire situation can turn to resentment for not only us but the loving God we claim faith in. I have been the chief among sinners in this too many times. I too often use it as a copout not to help; use my cliche phrases and pet scriptures. But where is the power? Where is the life? Where is the substance to change their situation?
God leads me to someone in desperate need; He wants to use me to bless them with something He’s placed inside of me, and I selfishly throw it back on Him with my response of; I’ll be thinking and praying for you.
You know who didn’t just tell people He’d be thinking about and praying for someone? Jesus. He spoke power, life, and change into situations. He entered Himself into our world, our lives, our very sufferings. He isn’t the powerless cliche that we too often turn Him into. The words He spoke and the actions He walked out are still powerful and life changing today.
Thoughts and prayers are necessary, in fact we were instructed multiple times in the Bible to lift one another up in prayer; but the key to that is actually taking the time to do it, not just saying you will. We have all been called to help those in storms whether they be literal or figurative. We have been given opportunities to serve people in need, and we have been given life that goes beyond religion and cliche. The same Spirit that powerfully dwelt within Jesus now dwells within us and wants to manifest Himself just as powerfully.
My frustration boiled over recently because of a couple of situations where people in need didn’t find their need met by the church. We are not the cliches that people see; but until we start allowing God to meet needs through us, their sight won’t change. Again my goal was not to point fingers at anyone , but important thing is to point out that there are people out there that need more than a thought and a prayer. Good news is we have more; we just have to use it.
Thank you all for reading my rant; I’ll be thinking about and praying for you all.

6 Responses to “I’ll Be Praying For You”

  1. I think you are absolutely right Phillip. We have reduced much of our talk down to religious cliches. I tire of them. I tired of using them and seeing how bland they were and made people feel. I have decided not to use them any more. Good post today.
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  2. Sarah S says:

    You’re so right, Mr. Phil. I stopped saying those things years ago because I never actually found them helpful when people said them to me, and because I don’t want to make a commitment to someone that I may not follow through on. Usually, I say something like, “I’m so sorry to hear your news. How can I help?” Those are things that I actually mean. If I do tell someone I will be praying or thinking of them, I try to make it a point to 1) actually do it! and 2) check in with them a couple of days later. I also ask specifics like, “How can I pray?” That way, instead of a vague, meaningless promise, it becomes a specific, targeted, tangible, intentional action.

    • philip says:

      Thanks Sarah, people mean well but ulitimately I wonder who they are trying to make feel better in some cases. You hit on very practicle ways that can keep us from making promises we can’t or won’t keep. Thank you so much! 🙂

  3. It’s another way for us to get out of really caring or having real relationship. Like you said, I’m guilty. I don’t like it in others and I don’t like it in myself. It’s born of selfishness and not of the divine love of Jesus. His compassion led Him to action. Prayer is powerful, but He also gives us ability and power to demonstrate Jesus in these situations. Key is being open and willing to do it.
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    • philip says:

      Allowing ourselves to love and care is definitely a key; we just can’t let the fear of failure or rejection hold us back. Jesus knew rejection better than anyone, but He pursued anyway because of His love. God help us be willing to reach out no matter what.