Thoughts and Prayers?

Here we go again.  

Another mass shooting.  

Another round of “thoughts and prayers.”  

I’m not denigrating thoughts and prayers – I want to be more thoughtful and prayerful.


We’ve been “thinking and praying” since Columbine and the problem seems worse than ever.  

Just look at the ever-increasing numbers of mass shootings in the U.S:

  • 2019: 417
  • 2021: 693
  • In 2022?  There have been more mass shootings than there have been days in the new year – over 200.  

“Thoughts and prayers” don’t seem to be working.  I wonder if God is telling us what he told the people of Judah through Isaiah: 

I cannot bear your worthless assemblies…

When you spread out your hands in prayer

I hide my eyes from you

Even when you offer many prayers

I am not listening. 

Why is God not listening to the prayers? Glad you asked:  

Your hands are full of blood!

Take your evil deeds out of my sight; 

Stop doing wrong

Learn to do right; seek justice.

Defend the oppressed…  (Isaiah 1:11-18)

That’s like God is saying that to the U.S. today – “Hands full of blood”!

The emptiness of thoughts and prayers spread to the northern kingdom of Israel too. Speaking on God’s behalf, Amos writes: 

I get no pleasure from your religious assemblies…

Take away from me your noisy songs…

Justice must flow like torrents of water,

Righteous actions like a stream than never dries up (Amos 5:21-24)

Have the emptiness of “thoughts and prayers” spread to the United States?  I think so.  

Maybe we need to respond with “thoughts and prayers and…action.” What a novel idea!  Father Rohr gets it.  He named his organization “The Center for Action and Contemplation.”

*Contemplation helps us see the world through the eyes of God – seeing God and reflecting God.

*Action is…well, ACTION.  It’s getting off our butts, or knees, and doing something.

Father Rohr says the most important word in the name is neither “Action” or “Contemplation” but, “and”.

It takes both. 
Let’s do both. 

“Faith, by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”  James 2:17   

Maybe there wouldn’t be so many deaths if our faith was not dead.  

2 thoughts on “Thoughts and Prayers?

  1. From local teachers’ perspectives, it is profound complacency and passiveness. We feel invisible, yet we are on the front lines.

    We report warning signs and red flags and are ignored, mansplained, and told these are “empty threats” and that the child has educational rights and we need to make certain we are maintaining them. We are told the kid “has issues“ and to just do our best. We are put off by administrators, social workers, and DFS routinely. We are placed on “teachers to kill” lists and then the student is right back in our classes. We collect and report drawings of students stabbing, choking, and shooting us and fellow students and then told the threats were not “deemed credible”. We report students’ internet searches that would shock you, and then told they were just “clicking around”. Then we leave school on the last day and go home to news like this, knowing this young man’s teachers and circle likely saw many of the same types of things.


  2. I saw a post earlier today that had the words thoughts and prayers marked through. Under this or the words policy and change. It is so time for us to take ACTION and not just use words. Thank you for your thought provoking writings.

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