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Don't Reject Prayers As Useless

I’m disturbed by recent memes and social media posts mocking prayers sent to those dealing with tragedy. Granted, words alone are not enough, and calculated photo opportunities of groups of politicians praying seem contrived at best.

There are, however, two important ways in which I disagree vehemently with such sentiment:

First, sending prayers does not equate to sending words and sentiment. A prayer is not simply a word of encouragement or support – nor is it a concrete question asking for a specific result. And it is certainly not a wish.

Prayer consists of deep thought, consideration, and mediation with a higher power. Prayer consists of self-reflection with the intent on becoming a better, more whole and loving person. Prayer consists of asking careful, honest, and difficult questions while knowing simple answers do not exist. And prayer may precede not only action, but life-changing alterations.

Second, denigrating prayer as something opposite of taking action sets up a false dichotomy and only seeks to further escalate the rapid deterioration of civil discourse that is especially disappearing in myriad media outlets.

It seems to me we have enough noise – enough anger and self-righteousness and pettiness tweeted out in 140 characters or less. So why add to that by attacking those whose send prayers?

So, when I see a meme of an empty truck bed with the caption “Prayers and thoughts have arrived,” I do not laugh. Rather, I think of the times friends prayed for me. The times I prayed for others. And I think, you are damned right they arrived. And they made all the difference.

I’m Michael Perry, and that’s my perspective.

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