Thanks to the social web I get to hear about the needs and concerns of the people I friend and follow:
Someone’s mother is in the hospital. A cousin was in a car accident. A friend is getting a divorce. You lost your job.
You know people in your social web will care about your need. You know they’ll want to help you share the load, even if all they can do is “like” or share a kind thought.
So, you post. You tweet, text, or email.
I’m glad you share your needs with me because I’m an average self-centered self, and hearing about your needs gives me an opportunity to learn compassion and empathy—something every Christian wants to develop.
But, what do you want from me?
Do you want my positive energy? My good thoughts? My prayers?
Any of the above?
I’m not sure what you mean…
Are positive energy, good thoughts, and prayers just cliché to you?—Like saying good luck—something you say whether or not you actually believe in luck?
Or, are you just trying to be polite? You want people to feel included whatever they believe?
Or, are you superstitious? Do you think prayers, positive energy, and good thoughts are all real things, and all equally effective ways for me to help you in your time of need? You actually believe I can make a difference?
Or, is your worldview based on relativism—the belief that there are many, equally valid forms of truth and spirituality? Do you actually believe one person’s positive energy is no more nor less true and real and effective than another person’s good thoughts or another’s prayers?
Whatever you may think, there’s only one of these I have confidence in.
In fact, I will pray for you. (How I pray for friends)
Right then and there, and I’ll tell you so. Or, if I know you to be a christian, I might also write my prayer in response.
Not that my prayers or faith have any power in themselves (as some superstitious christians believe). My prayers are simply the plea of an impotent, yet sympathetic friend offered to an omnipotent and sympathetic God on your behalf.
My good thoughts won’t help you. My positive energy (if I have such a thing) has no power.
But prayer—now, prayer is what you want from me—because I pray to the God revealed in the Bible. He is the great and good creator and ruler of all. He knows what you need before I ask. And He promises to hear us when we call.
When you’re in need, God (who offers himself to us in Jesus Christ) is the only truth, the only grace and power, who can come to your aid.
So, I want you to know, when you need help, I’ll ask God to help you. Let us learn to hope in Him alone.
And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.—1 John 5:14–15 (ESV)