It began with Paris, at least that is when I first heard it. A devastating, deadly, attack resulted in a #PrayeringforParis and #PrayeringforFrance responses all around the social media globe. That was the first time I heard someone shame the offering of prayers in such a blatant and public way. As more atrocities have occurred, the prayers and the criticism of prayers has continued. #PrayingforSanBernardino has been the most recent.
For those who are criticizing our prayers, I can only assume that you don’t understand what that really means. It’s not simple, but for many of us a very complex set of prayers. Prayers where we are recognizing that the depravity of man is getting worse, and we need a greater solution. Prayers of compassion, sympathy, and empathy for the family members who are mourning the loss. Praying for a community that has been affected deeply.
Who is praying?
A lot of people. Different religions. Different political beliefs. We may not agree on the same God, or lean more liberal or conservative… but we recognize pain, suffering, and the need for something more drastic.
My Christian friend who is pro-choice is praying for San Bernardino, another Christian friend who wants a total lock down in the arena of gun control is too.
My Christian friend who wants the government to butt out our personal affairs, and equality for all genders, races, and orientations …. she is praying too.
Those who sit home and “do nothing” are praying, and in many cases it is the only thing they can do in a time like this. No matter what changes we are in the progress of making, that doesn’t stop what happened already. In times of tragedy, crisis, and upheaval we need the people that will stand up… but we also need those who can help the wounded heal. The warrior and the nurse. The leader and the friend.
Do you know who else is praying, those who have gotten up and walked the walk. Those who have protested for better gun control, or more safety measures in place. Those who want to open the doors to refugees and those who want them closed, they are both praying.
There are those who batted with swords and guns, others who battle with words and ideas. For many of the devout (of any religion), they battle in their places of worship and in their prayers. You may see this as inactivity, because it isn’t something that you understand. But, let’s not assume. Let’s not assume that a person who is offering up their prayers is someone who isn’t actively working to make change in the world.
Would we question the prayers of Mother Theresa? Would we dare question the prayers of Martin Luther King? Do we question the prayers of our service men and women, home and abroad? Do we question the prayers of those political leaders or agents of change, that sincerely want to make a better world?
I will pray, and I am not sorry if that offends you. And, I am going to pray for people… whether they want me to or not.