How many times have we heard about someone going through a tragedy or something severe, only to hear sympathizers declare that they are “Sending prayers to the family.”
Of course this is a misguided way of expressing sympathy for someone who is suffering. But it also shows a misunderstanding and devaluation of prayer.
Why Does it Bother Me?
Reflecting on the last time I heard someone say this, I realized that at least one of the reasons it bothers me is that it is a picture of someone being “spiritual” enough to offer prayer but not spiritual enough to realize the utter emptiness of sending prayers to hurting people instead of to the One who can actually hear and answer them.
One Step Further
Let’s break down the logic of sending prayers to people and the likelihood that the people who say such things are praying at all.
It seems to me that someone who understands the value and purpose of prayer—someone who believes in the One who can hear and answer prayer—would never say they were sending prayers to people, which leads me to suspect that those who do say such things either don’t pray at all or that what they call prayer is nothing more than humanist social gospel sentiment.