There are a lot of times when I hear people say something like, "Our thoughts and prayers are with you." I wonder what that means. How does it help someone in crisis if I am thinking about them? I mean, really, what is the benefit for someone else if I think about how terrible their situation is? Or, how much better off I am than they? And who in the world am I praying to? If I tell you that my prayers are with you, does that mean I am praying to you?
I know that people who say these things mean well. I just do not think they are being reasonable and thinking about what they are saying. It is our way of doing three things at once. I am trying to make you feel better by wishing you well. I am trying to make myself feel better by appeasing my conscience. And, I am carefully avoiding doing anything at all.
Instead of spouting empty promises or pompous platitudes, wouldn't it be better if we actually prayed for people? What would happen if every time we wanted to say, 'my prayers are with you,' we prayed instead? The next time a person tells you about the tragedy of their life, grab their hands and pray for them. Begin to pray for people instead of telling them that you will pray for them. Then, continue to pray for them. Do not feel as though you have done your duty just because you prayed one time. Pray later, regularly and often. Pray until you learn that your prayers have been answered.
There is one more problem with this issue. Sometimes we find ourselves in no position and with no attitude to pray. We feel like we have to get in the right frame of mind before we can pray. There is a verse in the Bible that says that you should always be praying (1Thessalonians 5.17). We should always be thinking about prayer, looking for opportunities to pray and sharing our concerns with God. When a person comes to you with a crisis, be ready to pray. Have your attitude always set to spend time with God.