Thoughts and prayers’ do matter

Published 8:54 am Monday, September 30, 2019

To the Editor:

It was great to see Carter County school students praying around their flag poles. Prayer in the name of Jesus is under attack in America. In John 14, Jesus said, “And whatsoever you shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in my name I will do it.” In obedience to the Bible, Christians pray in Jesus name. They also pray by quoting directly from the Bible, to ensure they are praying according to God’s Word and will. State Representative Stephanie Borowicz did both when opening a session of the Pennsylvania General Assembly. Many of her colleagues condemned her Christian prayer as proof of Islamophobia and religious intimidation. Ironically when a Muslim cleric prayed a Muslim prayer and referenced the Koran, no similar condemnation was heard from the same outraged leaders. Christians who prayed Christian prayers in other states have also been attacked and condemned for offending people.

After the shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, President Trump and many Christians united in thought and prayer with the victims and their families. Others (politicians and media) mocked expressions of faith. Andrew Cuomo said, “…our thoughts and prayers will not stop the madness.” The Detroit News said, “no more thoughts and prayers: Enough is enough” The Daily Beast said, “The problematic theology of thoughts and prayers.” The 2020 Democratic candidates put the blame on Trump’s rhetoric for the shootings. The 2020 Democratic candidates also called for action and said, “thoughts and prayers are not enough.”

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Actually, a call to prayer is an appropriate action at any time, including during times of tragedy and difficulty. President Abraham Lincoln called for prayer many times during the Civil War.

Prayer was never intended to be a method to achieve whatever results we desire. Instead prayer guarantees the presence of God.“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20) When Christians say we are praying for each other, we are asking for “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, shall keep (guard) hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7) To those who mock “thoughts and prayers,” imagine: What would America be like if every time a tragedy occurred, no one said anything? That would be the epitome of doing nothing. Thoughts and prayers matter and bring comfort and peace. In these last days we also have mockers as predicted by 2 Peter 3 that mock the return of Jesus.

Jesus said in this world you will have troubles. We can’t stop all evil in this life because every human is created with free will. Living in America we are blessed with many freedoms — including the right to keep and bear arms. The truth is “Guns kill people like forks make people fat.” The nature of free will is that it’s free, and we are free to choose evil or good. Though we may choose to do good, others may not and when their actions collide with ours, tragedies can happen. Jesus was crucified by people with free will who chose evil, and although Jesus prayed to “remove this cup from Me” (Luke 22:42), God didn’t do so. But that doesn’t mean Jesus shouldn’t have prayed. Prayer is about fellowship with God as we seek to submit our spirits to Him — for God can and does make complex good out of simple evil, which is what we pray and wait expectantly for. The Bible says God can work all things for good for those who love Him and are the called. The greatest good ever came from the greatest evil ever when Jesus died for ours sins, was buried and rose again!

D.D. Nave