November 30, 2017
"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances. Do not quench the spirit." -1 Thessalonians 5:17-19
The phrase "thoughts and prayers" has made it into the Wikipedia encyclopedia. The phrase has become a feature in our response to violent tragedies and natural disasters; a more and more automatic response to the traumas of the day. Some even claim that "thoughts and prayers" have become a substitute for meaningful action.
What happens when we pray? Prayer opens our lives to another’s need and helps us see what that need has to do with us. When we pray, we turn our gaze "without turning either God or our neighbor into a commodity or an occasion for doing good." When we pray, we choose not to look away.
Let’s not look away this year. The temptation to avert our gaze from the needs of the world and our neighbor is tremendous. When we refuse to look away and choose to pray, that prayer "quickens the spirit of the person for whom we pray, putting them in the path of the vast creative energies of God." Prayer is not an excuse of inaction. Prayer is the beginning of meaningful action. Let us not look away. Let us pray.