Going Beyond Thoughts and Prayers

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It is a common practice of offering “thoughts and prayers” for anyone suffering in any way, and while the Bible encourages us to pray for one another, we also have a calling to step up and do more if we can.

Thoughts and prayers are step one

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,”

–1 Timothy 2:1

The secular world seems to routinely mock Christians these days when someone offers “thoughts and prayers” following some type of tragedy or suffering as if these gestures are meaningless. Thinking about and praying for someone is not void of meaning.

Jesus said we should pray for everyone, even those who mock and persecute us.

“But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,”

– Matthew 5:44

The Bible instructs us to pray for others and ask God to intercede on their behalf.

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”

–Ephesians 6:18

It literally costs us nothing to pray for other people, other than a moment of our time. Therefore, prayer is a given. However, whenever it is possible, we need to do more if we can.

Helping others is step two

“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”

– Hebrews 13:16

Love for others and “loving your neighbor as yourself” as the Bible and Jesus commanded should go beyond empathy and feelings of the heart. When possible, we need to offer more than a sympathetic ear and prayer. Beyond talk. If it is in our power, we need to do more. That is not to say, that we shouldn’t be a ready listener for another person. Many times, that is all a person needs or wants.

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

– Galatians 6:2

But there are times when we need to demonstrate our love for others by taking action, whether it is the giving of our time, our labor, our goods or our money. If we can step up and help another person through a hard time, we need to do it.

Sometimes we have to go out of our way to help others, but that’s what true love does.

Jesus said:

“Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.”

–Matthew 5:42

Jesus took the ultimate action of demonstrating his love. He gave his life on the cross to pay the penalty for the sins of humankind so that those who have faith in God would be worthy of redemption and rendered blameless, able to receive the gift of eternal life through God’s forgiving grace.

Think of the soldiers, law enforcement, firefighters, and countless others in numerous professions who have given their lives in the protection of or for the advancement of the lives of others.

Jesus said:

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”

– John 15:13