We hear the phrase, “Our thoughts and prayers,” voiced quite often these days. Though it is meant to be stated in a consoling way, it often comes across as meaningless. Have you ever stopped to consider what you are saying when you use the phrase? Let’s look at what is being said.
When we use this phrase we are often outside the event we are addressing. So, clearly, we have no real perspective from which to judge the situation. Neither are we specifically affected by the situation. Therefore, our evaluation of the circumstance cannot be comprehensive in understanding it.
Nor can we evaluate the actions and background which led to that particular event. So, with this background, let us look at thoughts.
What are thoughts? Generally speaking, thoughts are reasonings that individuals contemplate in their mind. Scientists will tell us that it is electrical impulses fired off in our brain. It is true that there are those connections activated when we think. But, is that all that there is? More and more scientists are discovering that there is more.
Thoughts do not fit the evolutionary paradigm. So, there must be something more. As the investigators try to fit evolutionary science into the picture they stray more and more from reality.
Our individual thoughts are built on our own life experiences. If your experiences do not match those of the given situation, you really have no way to understand it.
With this knowledge, it becomes clear that the statement is vacuous and meaningless.
Going a step further, it is meaningless to think that your thoughts can affect a given situation. This is moving into the realm of pseudo-science. You conjure up people bending spoons with their minds. That clearly is alchemy and demonic in its practice.
It is clear that human thoughts cannot produce and effect in someone else. Thoughts may motivate the individual thinking them. But, they cannot produce and effect on another person or situation.
Let’s consider prayers. Most people have no idea what prayer is.
Many use the term to define it. They say, “It is praying to God.” They use the term to define the term. But, that does not help us understand the term.
The term “prayer” or “to pray” is almost always a legal term. You may ask, “What do you mean by that?”
If you have ever been in court and observed any proceedings, you probably heard the word. One attorney will say, “We pray the court…”. What does he mean? They do not get down on their knees, clasp their hands and bow their heads. No. What do they do, then? They do exactly what the Biblical definition of prayer is. And what is that Biblical definition of prayer?
The Real Definition of Prayer
When someone “prays the court”, they cannot just say whatever comes to their mind. The court can only grant what it has been given authority to grant. Its range of authority is found in the written and cataloged law of the land. It cannot operate outside of that realm. So, when someone comes before the judge, they must know what the law says. Then they must speak that law to the judge. If he is a just judge, then he, or she, will enforce the law. But if the attorney does not know the law, or misstates the law, the judge is not obliged to enforce the plea.
Plainly understood, a prayer cannot be made in ignorance. To pray effectively one must have knowledge of what he is praying for. The one praying must be knowledgeable of what is available to be granted. One cannot pray from ignorance. Ignorance refers to the situation and to what will be granted in that situation.
The court does not grant “blanket” rulings. Just because one may ask for something does not mean they will get it. It must line up with what is said in the law.
Thoughts – Prayers
Thoughts are alright if they bring about motivation to act or improve one’s self. They have no effect as far as bringing about improvement in situations.
Prayers can be very effective if employed correctly.
Thoughts allow us to reason and weigh alternatives before we speak. The power to change situations is not given to thoughts. They can motivate the individual who thinks them, but not those around him.
To be effective, prayers must be spoken. In addition, they must be based on what the law says.
Then comes the question. “What law are you talking about?”
The “Law” that I speak of is that which was spoken and written by your Creator. That “Law” is called the Bible.
The Bible is the Creator’s written word, the manual for the function of all creation. In James 5:16 it says, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” So how do you pray effective prayers? In other words, how do you pray prayers that bring about what you pray for?
Look at Isaiah 55:9-11
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
The Word of God
God will answer prayers that are grounded in His Word. Isaiah clearly stated that God will perform His word when it is returned to Him. How is His word returned to Him? It is returned by speaking His word to Him. Thinking His word will build up your inner man. But speaking it will get God to act on His word. He has promised to do what His word says when it is returned to Him. Return it to Him the same way you would a judge in court. Speak it to Him and He will do it. He has promised that in His word. And His word says He cannot lie.
The term “thoughts and prayers” is a copout of really being serious about addressing a situation. If you are really serious about improving circumstances then you must study God’s word. His word is the Bible. If you are not praying the Bible, you are wasting your time and just being religious.
Be honest with God and with yourself. Are you truly a child of God or just a religious person. You may find yourself, as I did 55 years ago. I was religious but not a child of God. By God’s grace, I repented received Jesus as Lord of my life. Then I began to live and experience the true power of prayer. You can have the same experience, too.
May God bless you as you move beyond thoughts to the true power of prayer.