Some people are upset about the “thoughts and prayers” response to mass shootings. I understand. I am tired of hearing that myself.
It seems such a fill in the blank response; even glib and inappropriate when we all feel sickened by this cycle of seemingly endless gun violence followed by the same responses and counter responses volleyed back and forth like the same ball over the same net. People are suffering and dying over and over and nothing seems to change. I can see why nobody wants to hear, “Our thoughts and prayers are with…” ever again.
Some object to saying “thoughts and prayers,” because they think that prayer is pointless and they are outraged by this apparent platitude when they feel that action should be taken instead.
Of course prayer is not useless. But these objectors have a good point. We people of prayer should pay attention. I truly believe that if we don’t do so, this issue will never be solved. We who pray probably carry the world by our prayers in a more real way than we suspect. So this is very important to reflect on.
Prayer should lead us to find God’s will for us in any given situation. Perhaps if we prayed with open hearts, we would be filled with God who is love. Maybe we would not make an idol of the right to bear arms. We would put human life first. Maybe we would not make an idol of our own ideal antigun solution to the point we can hear nothing else and continually alienate and disrespect those with opposing views. Idols get in the way of transforming prayer because they harden our hearts to God’s voice and allow us, basically, to worship ourselves.
Maybe if we let Him, God would lead us out of this cycle of recrimination and especially these repeat scenes of horror and senseless loss. Maybe we would find things we agree on and start doing those things. Whatever we are attached to in our thoughts and way of seeing, we need God’s way to come, both to ourselves and the whole world.
If we prayed with humility and a listening heart, all of us pray-ers, maybe many would begin to see a whole new path never seen before. The Holy Spirit would begin to flow into all hearts, show us the changes needed to end mass shootings in our country, to heal the broken and traumatized, to honor the dead in ways that last and protect others, and grant us the means to follow His lead.
Prayer is of best use when we are either willing to change or asking God to make us willing. When we say, “Thy kingdom come,” I have heard it said, it should also mean “my kingdom go.” Otherwise nothing will change and we will remain un-transformed.
What is God supposed to do? We are a stiff necked people. I guess we have to get even more tired of this and more horrified by it than we are before we will listen to the Lord of Love and attend to what He may want of us or have to say. I know we have to ask for healing. And we have to ask for the ears to hear what the Lord says to us.
Speak, Lord. And help us be willing to hear.