Friday, September 26, 2014
Good Vibes, Positive Thoughts, and Prayer
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A friend posted something on facebook the other day asking for prayer about an upcoming trial in life. Several people chimed in offering their support through prayer and many sent well wishes. Others said they'd be sending good vibes and positive thoughts. All mean well, but it has me wondering something. Just what will good vibes and positive thoughts do for this friend of mine?
Oh sure, she might be encouraged to know her friends are thinking of her. It's always nice to know that people care about you. But really, when the tough day comes, how will those good vibes help her?
As Christians, it's really easy to say, "I'll pray for you," whenever a friend expresses a need. But it's time to evaluate. Are we really doing what we promise?
When I first moved to St. Louis, a very wise woman shared with me that she had decided to forego using the phrase "I'll pray for you." Instead she would take the friend or acquaintance aside and pray for and with them on the spot. She didn't wait. She said, "Let's pray about that now." If the opportunity to pray at that moment wasn't feasible, she had a different phrase. She'd say, "I'll pray for you whenever the Lord brings you to mind." Now that's a promise you can keep!
The Bible tells us that prayer is the most powerful tool we have. It gives us direct access to GOD!! When we pray, we are going before the throne of the living God. We are placing our friends, our loved ones, those we meet, and even some we've never encountered, into the Lord's hands. We are recognizing His authority and His power. And if you want to understand the power of prayer, just read a few accounts in the Bible. Passages such as when Abraham prayed for the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18), times when Moses prayed for the Israelites (Exodus 32), Hannah's prayer for a child (1 Samuel 1), Paul and Silas's prayer in prison (Acts 16). God hears our prayers and he answers.
Which brings me back to these good vibes and positive thoughts. If prayer is the tool that brings us and our loved ones into the presence of Almighty God, what do these vibes and thoughts do? Are thoughts the same as prayers?
I have to say that thoughts aren't the same as prayer. I used to trick myself into thinking that if I had thought much of someone during the day, it equated to me having prayed much for them. But that's a nasty little trick the father of lies wants us to believe. It keeps us from actually spending time in prayer to God. Prayer is a conversation with God. Thinking is a conversation with oneself. Thinking of a person is great ... for you. But it does nothing to improve anything for the other party. Of course, you could easily make a case that thinking of someone leads you to check in on them and offer help. If that actually happens, then kudos to you! But I know that in my own life, it is a rare friend who offers to pray and then will actually follow up with questions or a phone call days later. If thinking leads you to action, that's terrific. But it's still not as powerful as prayer.
I'm not even sure where to go with the good vibes thing. I'm guessing that thought emerges from the belief that we are all connected by our energy. If I think positively of you (sending you good vibes) then you'll somehow subconsciously pick up on that positive vibration and it will have a good effect on your body/mind/soul. Honestly I don't get it. I could sit in the living room sending positive vibes to my cranky toddler all day long and it won't improve his mood. He'd simply think I was being a selfish and neglectful mommy sitting alone on the couch while he has needs in the other room.
Friends, can we do this: when we want to positively impact someone, let's actually do the monumental and life-changing task of praying for them. Stop sending vibes and thoughts that are only impacting you. Take your friends before the throne of grace and put them and their needs into the hands of the Creator. Far more will be accomplished. It doesn't take much time; it doesn't have to be long. You don't have to be on your knees or in a quiet place. Pray with out ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Can you imagine what could be accomplished if we actually took that to heart? Oh, that it would be so!