She sat outside the window, trying to sanctify the pagan ravings of the dying man with her prayers. ~Gabriel García Márquez
Are not all prayers pagan especially those prayers seeking to marginally alter the course of destiny? Paganism is an Earth based, Earth bound religion as is human life. To pray for healing in the Earthly realm, even if the deity we beg for intercession is spiritual, smells of paganism. Prayer is often a request for comfort either for the one beseeching god or to help others in need. In both cases, the needs are Earthly thus pagan infused.
Is quite common to hear others utter the pagan phrase, ‘sending thoughts and prayers your way’ in the face of a disaster. The words do little when a person is in desperate of physical relief following the calamity, when the person desperately needs a helping hand, a shoulder to cry upon, an ear to listen to and empathize with the laments of agony.
At its core, the T&P is a call for someone else to help the struggling. Reality is, the T&P phrase is nothing more than a salve for the prayer, a balm to soothe their own guilty consciences. It lets them create an internal illusion they have helped when the reality is they did squat. It’s a great big juicy rationalization. It is people comforting themselves and leave the suffering to their suffering.
I think back to the quote attributed to Gandhi, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
The misfortunate need a physical manifestation of the prayers, not magic juju energy. They need the T&P crowd to get off their ass and actually do something tangible. Cook a meal. Send financial assistance. Change the selfish act of sending ‘Thoughts & Prayers’ into unselfish acts, physical acts of assistance. That is true thoughts and prayers in action.