“Thoughts and prayers.”

It’s an offering of condolences and sorrow for some, when they don’t know what else to say.

For others, it’s a mocking rally cry to action, in the face of empty words and platitudes.

But what if we really meant it?

What if, instead of just saying we’ll pray, we actually did it?

And what if we truly realized the privilege that prayer is. That we, mere mortal, finite, fallible human beings have the honor of going before the throne of our Creator King.

That because Jesus Christ took our sins upon Himself, the perfect Son of God willingly bearing all our punishment, all our shame; because He knows us, cares for us, loves us and allows us to boldly, “approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need,” as the author of the book of Hebrews tell us.

What if we really understood that the God of all Creation, the Lord of Heaven and Earth, welcomes us with open arms and genuinely wants us to bring our prayers and petitions before Him?

And what if we, the people of God, as a community of faith, as the Church took hold of the truth of God’s Word: “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14) Not just as a post on our social networks, a bumper sticker on the back of our cars, a slogan on a t-shirt, but as a promise from our God?

If these things are true (and I, for one, firmly believe they are), and we, the people of God stand on these truths, humble ourselves and seek the Lord in prayer for our homes and neighborhoods, our schools and workplaces, our businesses and places of worship, our law enforcement and first responders, our government and our courthouses, our playgrounds and our prisons… then indeed thoughts and prayers would not be hollow clichés, but words of hope, of encouragement, of healing and peace and joy.

I want to invite God’s people in the Faribault community to join us for the 3rd annual Faribault Prays! 24-hour prayer event, September 6-7, 3pm to 3pm, with the concluding celebration to be held at 4th Ave. United Methodist Church at 3pm that Saturday. To find out more information, check out the Faribault Prays! page on Facebook, talk to your local prayer coordinator if your church is signed up to participate, if not, feel free to contact me (332-8369) or just simply commit to pray for a period of time over that 24 hours.

Let’s come together as the Body of Christ, and lift up the community of Faribault to gracious King.

Dan Ford is pastor of Faribault Evangelical Free Church.

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