We are called to pay attention to what is going on in the world around us and to lift up concerns and tragedies in our prayers to God. God does want us to pray and to show concern for victims and their families. Yet we can never let the words, “They are in our thoughts and prayers,” be a substitute for seeking laws and policies that bring us a more just and peaceful world. As Christians, we are called to follow the way of Jesus and to work for peace, justice, nonviolence, better mental health care in our communities, and sensible gun laws, such as ones that restrict the availability of military weapons to civilians. 

If We Just Talk of Thoughts and Prayers

O WALY WALY LM ("Though I May Speak")

If we just talk of thoughts and prayers,

And don’t live out a faith that dares,

And don’t take on the ways of death,

Our thoughts and prayers are fleeting breath.

If we just dream of what could be

And do not build community,

And do not seek to change our ways,

Our dreams of change are false displays.

If we just sing of doing good

And don’t walk through our neighborhood

To learn its hope, to ease its pain,

Our talk of good is simply vain.

God, may our prayers and dreams and songs

Lead to a faith that takes on wrongs —

That works for peace and justice, too.

Then will our prayers bring joy to you.

Permission is given for free use of this hymn by those who support Sojourners.

Biblical References: Isaiah 58; Matthew 7:21, 24-27; 1 Corinthians 13:1; James 2:14-26; 1 John 3:18-24

Tune: Traditional English melody

Text: Copyright © 2017 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved.

Carolyn Winfrey Gillette is the author of over 400 hymns that have been sung by thousands of congregations around the world, and are found in 20 books and thousands of web sites, including Many of her hymns are published at Sojourners and are also found in Christian Century magazine, The New Yorker, National Public Radio, and PBS-TV. She and her husband Bruce are Presbyterian ministers who have served congregations in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York, and New Jersey. View the Sojourners video on Carolyn's hymns here.

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