thoughts and prayers
In moments when I want to feel safe, there are no other safer words than “My thoughts and prayers are with you (and your family, friends, city, etc.).” I’ve said them to families when a loved one lies at the cusp of death; I’ve offered them without thought or follow through when tragedy strikes people close to me. It’s what I do when I feel helpless to do anything. It’s not that I intend malice with those words — I just want to get on with the life in front of me, and if you and your trauma and pain occupy too much space, that might cause me to change.
As strange as it may seem, The New York Daily News may have gotten this one right, from a Christian perspective. A snowflake or Christmas tree on our coffee cup isn’t going to make our country a more Christian society. Religious words and calculated condolences aren’t going to restore God’s peace to our streets. The religion of Jesus and the prophets is a sincere faith expressed through positive action for change.
After the mass shooting in San Bernardino, politicians and others who offered up “thoughts and prayers” came under criticism for not being interested in a solution to gun violence.
But on The Late Show on Dec. 7, Stephen Colbert argued that thoughts and prayers are still important.
“I’d like to defend thoughts and prayers, as someone who occasionally thinks and prays,” he said.