In the hours following the horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas, many of us felt the need to try to express something. It is hard to know what to say.
Often, what is said includes the phrase, “thoughts and prayers.”
This is especially true of politicians. An analysis by The Atlantic found that since 1995 the Congressional Record records 4,139 instances of “thoughts and prayers” being spoken on the floor of the House or Senate.
Not everyone is a fan of the phrase. After the campus shooting in Oregon in 2015, President Obama stated, “our thoughts and prayers are not enough.” In the hours after the Las Vegas shooting, Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut tweeted, “To my colleagues: Your cowardice to act cannot be whitewashed by thoughts and prayers. None of this ends unless we do something to stop it.”
These critics are frustrated because they view “thoughts and prayers” as, frankly, meaningless.
It’s sad to hear them discount the power of prayer, but not surprising. After all, if you believe that God is as real as Santa Claus, the promise of prayer carries as much weight as a letter to the North Pole.
You know what, though? Often, I pray like I don’t believe it has any impact, either.
I take for granted the opportunity to have a conversation with Almighty God. Instead of understanding prayer as an audience before a King who can give me anything I ask, I meekly utter platitudes and get back to business.
Recently, I read a theologian who described prayer as the ultimate political act. Taking a request to God is a tacit acknowledgment that He is the Supreme Authority, not just in your life, but over all of Creation.
I have resolved to pray differently. I will not treat prayer as the least I can do. I believe in an all-powerful God; going to Him is the most I can do. After that, I can apply myself to the work of crafting good public policy.
Will you take part in the awesome power of prayer on behalf of me, my family and Family Policy Alliance of Kansas?
Follow Family Policy Alliance of Kansas on Facebook to see what we’re up to and how you can prayer for us specifically.
Thank you, as always.