I’ve read quite a few posts of late from people who reject the idea of “thoughts and prayers.” I get it. When a tragedy occurs, it can often sound flippant for someone to lay these words down without any action behind them.
However, it is in the action of prayer that I would like to sit for a moment, if I may.
Let’s begin by defining prayer:
Prayer is first and foremost an act of worship to a Holy God.
"Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name," Matthew 6:9
Secondly, prayer is a conversation with God. Just as I have a conversation with a dear friend, I can bring my joy, my pain, my thoughts, and desires to the Almighty. Nothing is too big or small for our Abba Father, He takes delight in our response to Him.
The Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.
Thirdly, prayer is an opportunity to bring our requests to the throne; including the burdens of those who perhaps have no words:
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people - 1 Timothy 2:1
It is in our request that we connect with the One who has been faithful before and will be faithful again:
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. John 15:7
But if I may be honest, it’s the “remaining in me” part that makes things a bit sticky. For those who do not know God, perhaps a weak but effective analogy will help.
I have a relationship with Betty-Sue and perhaps we haven't talked for a while. In a conversation with another friend of mine named Judy, I share with her that I am going to pass on a need that Judy has with Betty-Sue that only Betty-Sue can fill. But then I fail to follow through. This isn’t to say that Betty-Sue doesn’t already know of the issue and isn’t already pursuing a solution to Judy’s problem. But for me to tell Judy that I am going to ask Betty-Sue for help and never follow through, well the words then become empty.
If you have experienced empty promises of prayer such as this in your life, please accept this servant’s apology. For this is not God’s design.
God has called each of us to encourage and build one another up. And in this calling, we are also to pray for one another.
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16
It is in this action that we are unified. And in this action we can help to carry a burden that has perhaps become too much to bear.
When we say we are lifting you up in prayer, please know that our heart is lifting you up to the One who we believe will hear your prayer and heal your land. It is the action of prayer, to a Spirit-filled Christ-following believer, that engages faith that God will heal the circumstance in His Will and His timing. This, combined with Love, allows for us to be a conduit between the one with a need and the One who can fulfill the need.
With that said, not every prayer is answered the way that you or even we may expect. My dear prayer-warrior friends may ask for healing for my disease of Paraganglioma. But God’s idea of healing may be to give me the strength to endure while placing me in the care of doctors and nurses who have been blessed to have the knowledge needed to treat this dreaded disease. The act of physical healing is just as important as the physical healing itself. God can and will use this act to help me and others which will bring Him glory. And the honest truth is, I will be healed, of this I can be sure. How do I know? Because, the One who goes before me has already declared victory over my illness, and will restore me into the perfect likeness of Jesus when I reach eternity with Him.
"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:4
It is in this same faith that I can lift up your requests to our Father.
But the act of asking, is an act of faith. And GOD DOES AND WILL heal in the natural. So when we lift you up in prayer we are engaging our faith, however small it may be, that God’s will be done in the face of your challenge. And when we lift up our thoughts and prayers to our Almighty God, we are choosing to stand in the gap for you as we place you and your challenge in the Hands of the One who WE KNOW will impart peace, comfort, hope, and yes healing.
And we stand firm in this truth:
For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. 2 Corinthians 1:20
Father, I pray for my brothers and sisters in Christ, that we will never hinder the promptings of the Spirit to pray for those for whom we are called to stand in the gap. I pray that we will take seriously the opportunity to lay the requests of those before You who are hurting and in need of Your healing hand. And Father, I lift up those who do not know You and perhaps have never known or understood the power of prayer. I pray God that You will allow them to see the mighty work of Your Hand as You answer the prayers lifted up on their behalf. I pray that as we lift up our requests to You in prayer, that we as believers will follow up in the action of Love, because it is in this Love that Your Word says we are brought to complete unity and in this, the world will know Your Love and Your Glory.
In Jesus’ Name