The phrase, “thoughts and prayers” is getting some negative press of late. I get the intent of that challenge if, when offering our thoughts and prayers, we don't think or pray. Thoughts and prayers can be seen by some as a convenient kiss-off to actually offering real comfort or getting involved with a meaningful solution for the pain and suffering we see in the world.
Thoughts are never without impact when they are thoughts that come from a mind renewed by the Spirit. Prayers are never powerless when they are empowered by the love of God.
Allow me to make a suggestion. Don’t offer your thoughts and prayers on social media as a comforting post if you are only using it as conversational filler. This is dishonest if we are not doing what we promised. Maybe it is time to stop using those three words and actually create a sentence that will mean something to the reader.
The people you want to encourage may need to hear what you were thinking when you read about the pain they are experiencing. They may want to hear how you prayed for them. This will offer encouragement and hope because it says something of substance.
Maybe the challenge over the value of "thoughts and prayers" has a deeper purpose than just a challenge to its shallow appearance. Its purpose could be to release to the readers of social media what a renewed mind and Spirit-empowered prayer look and sound like.
The next time you hear a painful situation described, ask the Spirit to help you see and understand the situation from God's perspective. Turn that revelation into a meaningful prayer and share it with those in need. It doesn't have to be very long. It only needs to be honest. All of us would love to receive those kinds of thoughts and prayers the next time we are facing a personal challenge.