Prayer Shaming? Really?

This morning, at the gym, I was watching Fox News. Just to be clear, I only watch Fox News if I happen to be at the gym or if I need a good laugh. Plus, through an act of divine intervention, we have a cable package that does not include any of the 24-hour news channels (you probably didn’t know that was possible).

Anyway, Fox News ran a story in reference to the New York Daily News cover. They referred to the cover as “prayer shaming.”

daily news

The Fox News reporters were attempting to get their Christian conservative fan base worked up. The only problem is, the Daily News cover has a point. If our prayers are not accompanied by action, we just might be missing the point of prayer.

Politicians, pastors, and Christian leaders have a tendency to say, “Let’s keep these folks (or the situation) in our thoughts and prayers.” And, that sounds great! Prayers do provide a sense of peace and comfort. However, too often, we stop short. We simply pray and then do nothing.

We forget that, more often than not, the answer to our prayers lies within our actions. We pray and wait for God to miraculously intervene when, all along, God is calling those who are praying to be the ones who miraculously intervene. Maybe, rather than falling on our knees in prayer, we need to get off our knees and do something??? Now, that would be a miracle!

Pope Francis said, “You pray for the hungry. Then you feed them. That’s how prayer works.”

Now, I’m not really writing this to stir up a debate on gun control. As a “flaming liberal pacifist” (as I have been labeled before), most of you are aware of my stance on guns.

My point is to remind us that we can do more than offer up our thoughts and prayers. We can allow these tragedies to be a call to action.

Politicians can do more than keep people in their thoughts and prayers. Politicians can begin offering legislation and voting in ways that actually help protect citizens, rather than the interests of strong lobbying groups.

Pastors and Christian leaders and lay persons can begin encouraging their local, state, and national representatives to better represent and protect the average Joe.

As individuals, we can help one another. We can look out for one another. We can follow the example of Jesus and feed the hungry, clothe the naked, provide shelter for the homeless, care for the orphan and the widow, visit the sick and imprisoned, and help meet the needs of the least and last among us.