Thoughts and Prayers

by Larrisa Westhuyzen 

So often we see the words ‘thoughts and prayers’ added to a list of comments on social media in response to a profound tragedy.  It feels trite, doesn’t it?  As Christians and Non-Christians have splashed this platitude around without further action it has lost all sincerity.  The world makes fun of us.  “Thoughts and prayers can’t do anything to relieve the immensity of sorrow or change the circumstances”, they criticise.  “They are empty words used to plaquette a sense of survivor’s guilt and appear concerned yet with no intention to lift a finger to help.”  And in some cases, sadly, I think they might be right.  Have mercy on us Lord! 

The bible, however, calls us to more than mere ‘thoughts and prayers.’   Let’s look at 1 Timothy

1 Tim 2:1-2 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.

Or how about Ephesians 6:18

Eph 6:18 Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.

Let me humbly remind you sisters that prayer for the suffering in this world is the most effective weapon in your armoury for those who are suffering.  We are called to pray without ceasing. 

The God of heaven hears your prayers.  The one who not only understands every dimension of the situation but who empathises with our infirmities having been tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin (Heb 4:15).  Jesus’ empathy is perfect even if ours is lacking.  But that’s not all, Jesus, the one to whom we pray has the power to change the situation entirely with the word of his mouth.  The wind and the waves bow down to him.  Satan and his demons submit to him.  Sickness, sin and death are ultimately powerless because of his victory on the cross.  At his name, every knee with bow and every tongue will confess that he is Lord.  The powerful and weak alike.  Jesus made it all, He rules it all and He will one day reverse the effects of sin bending it back on itself to somehow bring about a greater joy for those who now mourn.  He is mighty to save.  So, when we are faced with news of tragedy and disaster or suffering unfathomable, let us get on our knees and pray.  Let us pray with all sincerity and dependence on the one who can truly do something about it.  Instead of ‘thoughts and prayers’ or ‘I’ll be praying for you’, how about we actually pray, right then and there.  We are not ‘just praying’ we are forging our greatest weapon for help and relief. 

We are never helpless.  For God has given us the gift of prayer.  Let’s use it well sisters. 


Larissa Westhuyzen works part time as an Occupational Therapist in chronic pain management, and is the wife of Pastor Mike Westhuyzen of Enoggera Baptist Church. She has a passion for painting, worship and deep discipleship, and loves to spend her free time in the garden. She lives in Warner and is mum to two little girls - Lucy and Violet.


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