What’s the difference between a good thought and a prayer?

By Mackenzie Young

Growing up, my father loved to take my sister and I to his favorite Renaissance fair. We would go every single year, and we began planning for it months in advance. We would coordinate weekends, planning meals, matching outfits, the works. However, as the years went by, my sister began to have other things come up in place of our treasured fair. She wanted to, but could no longer go, and she couldn’t figure out a way to tell our father. She had tossed over every possibility, full of fear that she would disappoint him by not going. She was stressed about getting the days off work and just needed someone to speak for her when words failed. She asked me to intercede for her to our dad – to communicate her needs when she didn’t have the ability or the strength.

Similarly, this is an incredibly important facet of prayer. Prayer can be an intercession we give to a sister or brother when they cannot find the words to bring to our Father. For instance, our sister is struggling with a sin – one that she knows is disappointing to our Father – and can’t seem to get herself on her knees one more time to ask once more for the graces she feels like she is lacking.

So our sister turns to her community, asking them to be the petition that she cannot will herself to put before the Lord. She needs us to have a conversation with God on her behalf in order to conquer the sin lording over her. She needs activity from us, not the passivity a “good thought” entails. She needs her friends to get on their knees and come humbled before God with her intentions. She needs us to sacrifice our time, our own prayer intentions, our desires, and our needs.

She doesn’t need a Facebook like or a quickly typed out text message.

She needs us to be like Christ – hung on a cross, sacrificing His life and His comfort with some of the last words on His lips being, “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

Good thoughts or vibes or feelings are fine; however, they can never equate to a conversation with our Father.

I still remember growing up with my sister, hearing, “You tell Dad, because you always know what to say.” Sometimes, sister, you know what to say. You are equipped to speak the intentions of your fellow believer’s heart. Depression, anxiety, perfectionism, pride, etc. can all prevent a woman from approaching God. And when our sister can find the words to say, your prayers are an added voice, a reminder to God to be sensitive to our sister’s requests. Prayers are actions that speak louder than the words of a “good vibe.” Your good thoughts are kind, but your prayers are invaluable.

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