Return to Sender

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.

Categories: Culture Apologetic, Prayer

Tags: , ,

4 replies

  1. Even in the secular world there is a recognition that some of the religious constructs within the church are beneficial to people and society as a whole. The need for hope, the desire for purpose behind their suffering, the support system of a like minded sympathetic community, They have a desire to want to take these things and leave out the very God who gives them to us. Taking the constructs that God has designed, but leaving out the God who gave them is like having a house built on the sand. A house built on sand looks just as good as a house built on the Rock – until the storms come. ” On Christ, my Solid Rock, I stand. All other ground is sinking sand.”


  2. Thanks, Pastor Scott. I have heard this phrase a lot of times and smile to myself.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: