If you are new to this blog....

Welcome! The primary purpose of this blog is to explore and encourage around what it means to be winsome and sent into the world for God's glory. If you are new here, the definition of "lighthouse-searchlight" or our missional journey is a good place to start. Come peruse the blog and add me to your RSS feed!

Monday, June 24, 2019

Thoughts and Prayers

THOUGHTS Woman Doing Praying Hand Gesture are powerful things. Indeed, Jesus taught that our thoughts come out of our hearts, revealing who we really are. The Christian scriptures speak of "taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ." And those same scriptures are described as a two-edged sword, "able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart." Believers are challenged to "not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind."

Thoughts are powerful things... far from being meaningless or powerless, they reveal who we are, they can re-shape our way of seeing the world, and they can influence our actions and those of others. If I am truly* thinking about Hurricane victims, I am more inclined to grow in compassion and empathy, speak of their plight to others, and be moved to action myself.

PRAYERS are similarly powerful things, if truly* offered and practiced. As modeled in the Psalms, prayers cover the full gamut of human emotion and experience. Like music, they are a way to express the height and depth of pain, joy, sorrow, elation, gratitude, and more. Jesus further modeled and taught his followers to seek and pray for God's will to be done. Lest that seem pointless or without power, note that God is described as compassionate, just, merciful, wise, loving, and much more. To pray against racial injustice or for victims of natural disasters is to seek healing, justice, truth, mercy, relief, deliverance, and more. Like "thoughts" prayer aims us in a good and godly direction and releases us for action and ministry. Beyond "thoughts" prayer seeks to orient our wills towards the goodness of God, out of our own natural desires and self-focus toward loving, serving, and blessing the community and the world. True prayer re-orients us toward others as it re-orients us toward God.

So yes, I get as frustrated as the next person when "thoughts and prayers" are thrown out there as a seemingly meaningless phrase. But give me a person who takes thinking and praying seriously, and I am heartened for the influence and impact they will have for good on the world around them.

*Just as one can say "how are you?" in passing or "fine" in response, we do often throw out empty or near-empty phrases like "thoughts and prayers." My desire for myself and in this post is to lift up real "thoughts and prayers" that are sincerely offered and actually practiced as truly potent things in this world. (Similarly, an authentic inquiry of "How are you, really?" can open up significant conversation and interaction. That's a good thing, too!)

References: Matthew 15:19; 2 Corinthians 10:5; Hebrews 4:12; Romans 12:2

Tag Cloud

2014 2015 accountability acts advent archive art arts ash wednesday aslan assurance audio auditions authenticity bands belief bigotry blessing blob bloggers blooper reel bluegrass body of christ book book reviews boomer boundaries breadth of worship builder bus calling Calvin Symposium cd ceilidh change character of god chart christmas church church partnerships civility commandments commentary communication community con ed confession confirmation contemporized hymns crisis CS Lewis culture D.Min. dance darkness death definitions denomination depth of worship discernment discipleship discourse dismissal dissertation drama early church easter ecclesiology ecpc emergent church error evangelism excellence exile exodus experience experimentation facebook failure faith family of God father fear fellowship fellowshippres following forgiveness friendship frost fruit frustration funerals GA ga219 ga220 GAhelp generations genX gift gifts girl scouts good news Google gospel grace gracious witness gspc youth hands health highlights holy spirit holy week hope hospitality humility humor hymn image of God imago dei improvisation incarnation inclusion index information insider language institutions interns invitation iTunes james jazz Jeremy Begbie john piper jonah joy judgment Keith and Kristyn Getty kids kindness language law lay renewal leadership legalism lent license life light lighthouse linked articles links listening liturgy loneliness love lyrics maddie shuler meme mentoring mercy metanarrative mgb commission millenials ministry networks miscellaneous mission missional missional identity missions moderator montreat mumford music narnia neighborhood neighbors new wineskins new year news newsletter NEXT NEXTchurch nicaragua noticing obedience obstacles organizations outreach palm sunday parenting participation pastor pastoral ministry pcaus pcusa peace performance peter pgf pictures plagues planning podcasting poetry politics ponderings pornography post-modernism prayer preaching presbymergent presbyterian global fellowship presbytery publishing questions racism reader reconciliation recordings recycled goodness redemption reflection refugees relationship relationships repentance retreat righteousness risk roadblocks rss rules sabbatical safety salt samaritan satan satire scotland searchlight searchlight 2.0 sectarianism self-righteousness seminaries sermon snippets sermon-song sermons shalom sheep shepherding sin small church social media song songwriters songwriting spheres of influence spirit spiritual lessons spiritual power stewardship stories story sub-culture summary sunrise talent challenge tears technology teenagers Ten Commandments terrorism testimony theater theft theological education top posts tragedy transformation translation travel trees trinitarian worship trinity trust truth twitter union with christ valentines VBS video virtual reality vision waiting website wednesdays out wee kirk welcome witness word cloud wordle words workshop worship writing year-end YL you tube youth