It’s a trend I am seeing more and more frequently on Facebook. Somebody posts about their grandma in the hospital. A concerned family member responds,
“Sending prayers, thoughts and good vibes your way!”
Or a friend let’s everybody know about an upcoming surgery she will undergo.
“Asking for prayers and good vibes,” she posts.
Though the requests are sincere and the thoughts heartfelt, I can’t help but cringe every time I read those words – especially when they are written by a fellow Christian.
Their motivation is good. They want to help. They want to comfort. They want to say something encouraging, but there is a big difference between prayers, thoughts and good vibes.
“Good vibes” is a phrase made popular by the Beach Boys 1966 hit song, “Good Vibrations.” It stems from New Age philosophy which espouses that we can send out positive and negative energy which affect the world and people around us.
When someone says they are sending thoughts and good vibes to a person, they are saying they are thinking positive thoughts for them which will hopefully in some way help their health or situation to improve.
Prayer is different.
First of all, please understand this:
If you are sending prayers their way, you are sending your prayers in the wrong direction.
We don’t send prayers to each other. Prayers aren’t positive or hopeful thoughts. Prayers aren’t words meant to encourage or comfort other people.
Prayers are the words we speak to the God and Creator of all things. Prayers are the requests we bring in faith to our heavenly Father who promises to always listen and answer us for our good.
Prayer has power (James 5:16). The power of prayer, however, isn’t in the person offering the prayer. The power of prayer isn’t in the words being said. Prayer is not some magical incantation. Prayer has power because we are praying to the all-powerful King of the universe.
Prayer has power because the one to whom we are praying can do anything.
Now, that doesn’t mean God will give us everything we ask for in prayer. It doesn’t mean if we just believe hard enough or think positive enough, we will get the result we want. God promises to hear our prayers and answer them, but he will only give us what is truly good for us. Not everything we ask for fits God’s plan of love for us and for others.
Sometimes God says no to our prayers.
But he often says yes. Prayer makes a difference in our lives and the lives of others. Prayers have healed the sick and saved the dying. Prayers have changed history. Prayers turn our hearts and minds to the one person who can truly help in any and every situation – our God and Savior.
So, instead of sending thoughts and good vibes (or even prayers) to those who are struggling or sick, tell them that you are praying for them. But then actually do it.
It has become so cliché to tell a person you are praying for them, that sometimes we say it, but then don’t actually do it.
Tell them you are praying for them and then pray for them right away. Your prayers make a difference. God is listening and ready to act.
Unlike thoughts and good vibes, prayer has power.