A childhood friend posted this meme on their newsfeed: “Thoughts and prayers are useless to dead children.” Excuse me? You are telling us what and who we can think about and pray about and how we should respond to tragedy? How do you know my prayers are ineffective? (I believe God knows the intents and thoughts of the heart. He knows how to direct our prayers).
Even more, this childhood friend has had health crises all his life. I have prayed for him many times through many surgeries. He didn’t seem to mind my thoughts or prayers during those tenuous days.
Additionally, who made Cultural Drift the judge of how I should think and pray? Why do thoughts and prayers stir the ire of those who don’t like to think or pray? They have a right to speak out and a right not to pray. However, Americans are supposed to think before they speak, not parrot someone else’s thoughts on a matter as serious as a national tragedy.
My response should be gracious. My anger at this condemnation of thoughts and prayers won’t achieve anything. Instead, I should say something like, “It’s ok even if you don’t want my thoughts or prayers. I understand and respect your wishes. My thoughts are toward those who are in deep distress. When I think of them, they are not suffering alone. My prayers are for those who need them—those who would appeal to God in the most unimaginable, shocking circumstances and choose not to carry the burden alone.”
How do you respond when someone offers their thoughts and prayers amid tragedy and suffering?
This is Common Sense Civics and Citizenship. 🇺🇸
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