I hate to say it but I am becoming a critic of my own faith.
Now before you go nuts and think that I've lost all bearing, hear me out. When you hear someone say "we're praying for you" the first thought that comes to mind is "oh that's nice" or maybe you even think about your own prayer time and realize that if they are anything like you.... it's gonna be a short prayer said once or twice and then you'll be quickly forgotten. Even the believers have lost their faith in a solid petition of prayer to the Almighty and rightly so! We have pretty much made "I'll pray for you" a house hold statement as worthless as the slogan on a big company that implies they put customers first! Most importantly we have through that statement around as much as the words "I love you" hit the ears of so many people on Valentines day each year right before they break up and move on!!! We've overused and abused it to the point that it has lost its worth.
How do we get it back? Simple really, if you say your going to pray for someone then do two things pray for them and then write a note and mail it! Example "I'll pray for your family" you say to a fellow friend. Two days later you think, oh I am supposed to be praying for them. You say a prayer and hastily depart to other things..... they never knew you actually did what you said you were going to do and honestly they have no reason to think you did, cause honestly EVERYBODY SAYS IT! So change the tune, when you say a prayer take 3 extra minutes to write a quick note, "Hey, I was thinking of your family and while I'd love to do more for you I simply can't at this time. But I wanted to know that you were in my thoughts and prayers today!" AND MAIL IT!!!!
How quickly would those empty words be changed to a meaningful tangible reality for those who heard them and dismissed them as mindless christian chatter!!!
With all that being said to me lately, today my favorite christian phrase is "Just call if you need ANYTHING"..... seriously? You need me to call? My needs are posted all over the internet, on Facebook, in emails you have received, in phone calls I have made and YOU need ME to call you???
As a person who claims to have faith we must learn to embrace our responsibilities as such, when you know someone is in need, you should NOT ask them to "give you a call" your right in FRONT of THEM...... instead of asking them to do yet another embarrassing thing like call and plead their case to you, simply say "I know things are tough right now, is there anything we can do for you?" or even "I saw you had some needs, and I wanted to ask you if x, y, or z might be helpful" showing that you as a caring person actually thought ahead demonstrates your commitment to actively working out your faith. I can honestly say that if I had even a dollar for every time I've heard "We're praying for you" or "If you need ANYTHING just call", my children wouldn't be homeless, we'd have a car of our own and we wouldn't be worrying about how the health insurance bill was going to be paid.
You can call it ranting, you can claim I'm bitter if that will make you feel better but honestly what makes me angry is the fact that I used to listen to all this stuff about how people were just "hurt" because their expectations of people were too high and they let their "hurt" drive them away from the church....... what a bunch of hype, the church is a place were building up, edifying, tending to those in need and providing like no other should be happening so where did WE go wrong? We went wrong when we put numbers and limitations on God, when we told God our budget wasn't big enough for His business and when we used the "good steward" excuse to avoid doing our job!!! What if, just what if we actually closed the bank account and worked on cash, paid all our needs in cash and donated the rest to those in need, do you think that God wouldn't provide if we as the "faithful" ones actually believed?
So in another attempt to say "wake up friends" here is my challenge for the week, when you KNOW someone is hurting or in need, don't just say one of the standard phrases and if heaven forbid you do, follow it up properly with ACTION!!!
We could all use a wake up call and I think that if you pay attention to the example God gave us, he didn't ask people to send him a letter before he could meet their needs. He faced it right at the moment it was presented and He FOLLOWED it up with ACTION...... if that is His example it should be ours as well!
GO MAKE A DIFFERENCE (notice it didn't say, go "say a difference)..............