Friday, March 27, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Hart: The power of prayer

By
From page A2 | November 06, 2012 |

With Hurricane Sandy bearing down, one phrase (or a variation) was offered over and over to those in its path: “Our thoughts and prayers are with you.”

Newscasters, politicians, government officials and countless souls on Twitter and Facebook uttered such thoughts. We come across such phrases all the time during tragedies.

Call me a cynic, but this drives me a little crazy.

That’s because I doubt that everyone (or even many) saying “You are in my thoughts and prayers” is really getting down on his knees and imploring God to intervene in the matter at hand.

Such a phrase has become more like “God bless you” after a sneeze. But at least there there’s some 2,000 years of tradition involved. Evidently, its earliest known use was in the first century. Different legends hold that it was started for various reasons, such as: the soul was thought to be leaving the body; evil spirits were thought to be leaving the body; the heart was thought to be stopping and “God bless you” would help to revive it. Guess what? No one knows for sure why it originated. What we do know is that it’s obligatory today and to not recognize someone’s sneeze with a “bless you” is considered rude.

Prayer is a little different. Or, I think it should be. I believe that prayer is powerful. Apparently, a lot of people do and that’s why folks intuitively want to go beyond “my thoughts are with you.” Just offering that to an afflicted person would seem a little silly. Why would you care if I’m thinking about you if I’m not doing something about it?

That’s why casually saying “My thoughts and prayers are with you” seems a little insidious to me. There’s a sense in which folks who offer what is for many just a platitude are invoking God’s name and power, recognizing that it’s uniquely meaningful. But they are essentially taking that name in vain when they don’t truly and humbly go before God on the other’s behalf.

There’s only one thing that’s worse in this regard, and that’s when we Christians look someone squarely in the eye and say, “I am going to be praying for you in this” — but then don’t.

Now that I am guilty of. Most of the time it’s because I really meant to — and then simply forgot, got distracted or whatever. Or offered up a quick “Please, God, bless so-and-so” because I wanted to check my to-do box but then didn’t take the time to really intercede for that person or situation.

But all the casual “thoughts and prayers” banter in response to Sandy and other tragedies has got me focused on exactly that. When I say I am going to pray for someone, I need to believe that really means something, and obligates me to humbly go before God for that person or situation. And if I really believe that God is all-powerful and loving, why would I tarry even one moment anyway?

That’s my challenge to myself.

To those souls casually offering that their “thoughts and prayers” are with someone, I’d invite them to ask themselves: “Am I willing to implore God to intervene here?” If not, why offer the phrase? What is it that you think about God — what is it that you intuitively grasp about his power — that makes you want to utter those words in the first place?

The answers might be interesting.

The bottom line is that, partly in response to Sandy, it’s my genuine prayer that anyone talking about prayer would take the power of prayer a lot more seriously.

And, yes, that starts with me.

Betsy Hart’s latest book is “From The Hart: A Collection of Favorite Columns on Love, Loss, Marriage (and Other Extreme Sports).” Reach her through [email protected]

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Everyday life inspires model’s music

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Hosting gig for comic, birthday party on weekend schedule

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Brasher new president, CEO of Jelly Belly

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1, 2 Comments | Gallery

Rio Vista singer ready for Rancho Cordova show

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
 
 
Spring Fling set to return to Rancho Solano

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Kids fishing day events return

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Fairfield police log: March 25, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun police log: March 25, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

Co-pilot believed to have purposefully crashed plane

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Lawyers dispute hoax claim, boyfriend says he was drugged

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
L.A. river revamp to cost double previous projections

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
State to alter ban on where sex offenders can live

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Governor awaits $1B drought relief bill

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
US drops graphic leaflet to possible Islamic State recruits

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

AP Exclusive: Special ops troops using flawed intel software

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Talent agency wants Matt McConaughey speaking fee secret

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Grateful Oklahomans salvage belongings after killer storm

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Fact Check: Myths in the political roar over Common Core

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
US: Chicago-area cousins planned US terrorist attack

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Report: Teen says mom killed her siblings found in freezer

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
House OKs bipartisan Medicare doctor bill; fate up to Senate

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Tunisians assure Star Wars sets safe from Islamic State

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
US Thunderbolt II attack planes on training in Poland

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Syrian government shells kill 18 in south, activists say

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Turmoil in Yemen escalates as Saudi Arabia bombs rebels

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Russian, American ready for a year in space

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
.

Living

Today in History: March 27, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: March 27, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: March 27, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
Parents may be enabling son’s drinking and hurting his employment chances

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

Week in preview March 27 to April 3, 2015

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
‘Downton Abbey’ to end after upcoming 6th season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

With ‘Downton Abbey’s coming demise, here are 5 past deaths

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Ken Burns unravels the mysteries of cancer in PBS film

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Review: Animated alien adventure ‘Home’ lands with a thud

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Entertainment Calendar: March 27, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B4

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic | From Page: B6

 
.

Sports

Marleau, Niemi lead Sharks past Red Wings 6-4

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Warriors can match franchise record for wins at Memphis

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Prep swimming preview: City teams look to make big splash

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Notre Dame races by Wichita State 81-70 for Elite Eight spot

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Kentucky overwhelms West Virginia 78-39 in NCAA Sweet 16

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
San Diego city, county join forces on bid to keep NFL

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Labor, developers reach deal on proposed Inglewood stadium

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Italians will pull out of America’s Cup if boats downsized

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Fiancee of Aaron Hernandez to be called to testify Friday

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Stanford’s VanDerveer, Notre Dame’s McGraw to face off

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Signups for Friday, March 27, 2015

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B8

 
Former Germany coach Berti Vogts joins Klinsmann’s US staff

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Officials OK demolishing Irwindale Speedway for outlet mall

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Sharks sign 2 college players

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Top-seeded Wisconsin hangs to beat North Carolina 79-72

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
49ers waive OL Jonathan Martin after 1 season with team

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

This date in sports history for March 27, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
Mirim Lee leads LPGA Tour’s Kia Classic

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
Charley Hoffman takes PGA lead in wind-swept Texas Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

.

Business

Range Rover offers an exclusivity that’s rich with irony

By The Washington Post | From Page: C1

 
Google’s new CFO gets $70M for defecting from Morgan Stanley

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Bankruptcy hearing could decide fate of RadioShack

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Microsoft wants US suppliers to give employees paid time off

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Lawmakers unhappy with new fracking rules

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11 | Gallery

 
Authorities go after crooked car deals in national crackdown

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Oil prices jump almost 5 percent as tensions mount in Yemen

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
New Samsung, HTC phones coming April 10 in US

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

.

Obituaries

Helen Kalis

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Carol A. Vose

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9