By Nancy Virden (c)2020
Crisis. As a nation and world, we’ve been-there-done-that to varying degrees and often still stumble over what to say to victims and their families. Surely we know by now that empty words and promises are unhelpful. So, why do we often settle for the message that we are extending our thoughts and prayers?
It is not “settling”
It’s hard to know what to say. Coming from a genuine person, thoughts and prayers are kind. It’s meaningful knowing people remember you in your pain.
While depressed, it is tough to receive well-intentioned sentiment. I guess because the need is so great, nothing seems to be enough. That is how I felt, anyway. In other times of stress- like when my parents died- messages that people were thinking of me meant very much, as did the absence of that.
Upping our game
How can we up our game in the thoughts and prayers department?
- Injecting personal words such as “You have my” thoughts and prayers, or naming the recipient can lift the message a bit.
- For a bigger impact, mention some details such as “You have my thoughts and prayers due to the loss of your home.”
- Consider sending a text or message on social media directly (as supposed to only adding your thoughts and prayers to a group comment) to let them know you are aware of them as an important person to you.
- Avoid advice or dismissals such as “You can have another child” or “Time heals all things.”
- Good old-fashioned phone calls and cards are still sweet and touch hearts at a deep level, as do visits and specific offers of help.
Ultimately, while it is nice to know people have not left you unnoticed or unmissed, prayers have the power- not thoughts alone. Why? Because praying to God with a surrendered heart to Jesus invokes the wisdom and power of the Almighty. Prayer changes the one who prays, too. We become more compassionate and sincere in our love for others.
Today’s Helpful Word
James 5:16-18 (NIV)
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.
Always the Fight Ministries (ATFM) has been displaying compassion for those fighting mental illness, addiction, or abuse since 2012. Nancy is the founder and voice of ATFM and openly shares her emotional resurrection from despair.
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NOTE: I am not a doctor or a mental health professional, and speak only from personal experiences and observations. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.
If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.
If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. In the EU call 112. (For other international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!
*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright (c) 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.., Carlo Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved