Once Again

This is an updated redo of a post I first wrote back in 2019, still pertinent and much needed.

I’ve been seeing a lot of posts in the past few days about the uselessness of the phrase “my thoughts and prayers are with you”. I know these posts come from a deep place of extreme frustration – we keep having mass shootings and people keep praying and the shootings happen again and again – I feel the anger and the frustration, too. I mean, I originally started blogging in response to two shootings within 24 hours one weekend several years ago. But they still stab me in the heart and cause me pain, especially when they come from someone who professes to be a Christian.

Thoughts & Prayers and Action & Change are not opposites sides of an issue. For Christians, they must be used together. We thoughtfully consider the value of all human life and pray for God’s power and strength to reveal to us where we need to change so that everything we think, say, and do reflects God’s love for all people and a hurting world. We pray that our city, state, and country leaders will thoughtfully consider which policies will best serve the people and the common good and not their own political agendas or power trips.

And then, we need to think hard about how all of this “opposite” thinking is part of the problem when we approach life as a constant competition and debate. This type of thinking puts us all in battle mode, it fosters angry attitudes toward others, and in the end devalues human life. If I am in constant debate with you, you cease to be a person and become an object I must defeat.

One of the most important things I’ve learned in life is that I don’t have to make you wrong to be right. Very little in this world is absolutely ‘right’ or absolutely ‘wrong’ – there is a lot of grey area in our thinking and in our policies. I cannot “fix” you and I definitely can’t fix the whole world but I can do the next good thing in front of me. I can write my mayor, governor, senators, representatives, and president and voice my views in the most diplomatic and intelligent way possible because if I write them or speak to them in anger and hatred, not only will they not listen, I’m just being a part of the problem and perpetuating the dichotomous attitudes that keep us all so angry most of the time. I can use the power of my vote to make my opinions known – and, yes, I do pray about the way I vote, asking God to help guide my intelligent thinking to make the right choice.

I’ve also learned, and I do confess I had to learn the hard way, I cannot change or control another’s behavior or attitude. But, I can model loving and compassionate behavior and pray that with God’s help my behavior can influence others to do the same.

When we remove prayer from the “make the world better” equation, we are letting our egos take the place of God. I will fix this. I will do it. I don’t need – or want – God’s help.

Prayer isn’t some magic incantation we say to get God to do what we want when we want it. Prayer is intentional time in the presence of our Creator, in communication, in communion with the one who shapes our hearts to be more loving and compassionate. In prayer we are transformed so that all that we do reflects the light of God in this very, very dark world.

God never asks us to check our brains, or our abilities, at the door of his Kingdom. God asks us to live now in his kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven, living life grounded in him and his love for everyone whom he has created.

So, do things to make the world a better and more loving place, do things which will affect the policies of our government and attitudes of our leaders, and pray to God before, during, and after doing it. God is with us always and God’s greatest desire is for us to acknowledge that so that all we do is by God’s love and for God’s glory.

God’s peace be with us all,
Mother Nancy+

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