“I’ll Pray for You”

I had a friend whose an atheist post online regarding prayer. I am a person of action, so while I’m not the type of person who wouldn’t pitch in to help a neighbor, I certainly am the type that would also add that I’m praying.

Prayer, for me is also an action. I suppose to some it might appear to be a meaningless exercise in futility. But, for me there is no more sincere form of expression of my deep caring for your situation or circumstances.

I’m seeking to understand here. Can someone explain to me why people feel the need to pray about things getting better? A little girl is missing near my home town and this is the headline article. How does praying help find this little girl?

It has always bothered me when people say “I’ll pray for you” because it’s a cheap way for them to pretend to have sympathy without actually doing anything to help. Call me a jaded atheist but I’m seeking to understand here.

I get praying may be calming or a form of support but when it’s framed like you’re prayers are going to bring a missing little girl home, I don’t see how you’re helping. Praying does nothing. Get out and form a search party. Go door to door asking people noticing anything strange. Make food for the family so they can focus on the search. Raise money to support the search. But don’t pray about it and pat yourself on the back for doing nothing.

When I indicate I’ll pray for you, I’m calling on a God, personal to me, the energy of the universe to bring about a resolution. Calling on the power of all that is good in the world, in the universe, and in humanity itself is a powerful expression of my concern, care and love for you.

From the days when I was agnostic, a simple “I’m sorry” and walking away -seems by comparison now, so heartless and non-compassionate. When you are hurting, it may not seem like a strong enough gesture. I get it. But what would be? Certainly for circumstances like these, if I searched 24 hours a day until the end of days, and your daughter wasn’t returned – that too would not be enough.

Because of my faith and believing strongly in the power of prayer, I’m committing my energy to bring comfort to you in this time of need. Sometimes through action, sometimes through deed, or just my presence to remind you that in the most difficult times you’re not alone. But, regrettably I’m a human power. My abilities are finite. I’ve accepted that about myself. But, because I conversely think God’s power is infinite, I have hope that your situation will resolve in a way where hope is preserved. I don’t know how that will look. None of us does. But I hope it looks in a way that has you reunited with ones you love. That allows you to live out the remainder of your days with some semblance of happiness and joy.

People often remark about the text messages I send them (I send – a LOT). That comes from God tapping me on the shoulder throughout the day to remind folks that someone is thinking about them this very minute. That they are thought of. That they are loved. That too is an extremely small gesture. I get that. Again, my power is finite. Some people are even not happy with the gesture and tell me to stop, or even F’off. That’s ok too. I wasn’t doing it to remain in your good graces. I was doing it because everyone needs to  be reminded at random times throughout that their life that their world is much bigger than they think – that the impact that they have on others is much more profound that they thought – and that their presence in the lives of others is much more important than they realize.

I’ve been asked what “app” is that – that I’m using to insert a persons name into the text I’m sending them. I always laugh at that. “No. That’s me. Reminding you – that you are thought of, and loved”. It’s often met with a blank stare of disbelief. The worst thing you can say to me in these instances is that I’m being insincere. Alright. That may be your perspective but it saddens me that you have been so hurt, jaded or mistreated that you could be incapable of believing in the kindness of others, the goodness of humanity and that I just wanted to say “hello”.

If we ever evolve as a species where we all think like that – then hope really is lost. In the meantime I’ll pray for you. I’ll pray you get everything you ever wanted, or the acceptance to be alright if  you don’t. Those really are the only two choices.

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