Our country, the United States of America, has been through a lot of emotional ups and downs in terms of terrorist attacks, Olympic championships, tornado storms, and highly charged presidential elections. One common phrase has been sung repeatedly over and over again in response to just about every single occurring tragedy. These phrases chorused by local leaders, surviving victims, the victims' relatives, and the President of the United States amongst others have unknowingly been etched into the minds of millions of American observers. After hearing this meaningful expression for what at times seems the hundredth one cannot help but think "what do these collective words really mean to the one speaking". Recently during the aftermath of the disastrous Oklahoma tornado that killed dozens, including children, first lady Michelle Obama said : "our thoughts and prayers are with all the people in Oklahoma." When Michelle Obama mentions thoughts and prayers faithful Bible believing individuals tend to wonder: "thoughts of what" and "prayers to whom". Some will respond "well of course they are thinking of the tragedy and sad state of the victims". Myself having met together and prayed with fellow Christians for years have no memory of anyone ever beginning a prayer with "our thoughts and prayers". It's extremely doubtful that Mormons, Muslims, Taoists, or Wiccans begin their daily prayers with a rehearsed "our thoughts and prayers". Individuals who may not refer to themselves as Christian or as serious believers in prayers, perhaps will respond with "so what". If these same beings attended highly spiritual prayer meetings or witnessed intense prayers expressed by individual(s), or if themselves had a moment or moments where they felt emotionally driven to cry out, with all their might to the Lord, they would perhaps have a change of thought.
In a situation where his people are dying, bleeding from a disastrous weather event or some kind of terrorist attack, a leader should respond with more than just "our thoughts and prayers". A God fearing leader would be calling on all individuals, people, companies, corporations, and churches of his nation to come together and pray. Many US citizens, especially the true Christians desire real prayers. The generic sounding "our thoughts and prayers" will then strengthen into a powerful "in the wonderful name of Jesus!" Now does not that sound mightier? Does not that sound like a cry out to God, that will strike definite pleasures to His ears. But of course both the people as well as the government of United States of America is making efforts to stray away from a nation united under one god into a split nation with various gods, idols, spirits, etc. whom have stolen the hearts and souls of fellow countrymen. It's not just Obama, the phrase is repeated by town mayors, state governors, disaster victims, friends of disaster victims, witnesses of disaster victims, news commentators, celebrities, and so on. The phrase has been repeated so often, people have been practically trained into uttering such comments and have no idea who they are praying to or with whom.
Our thoughts and prayers can mean Allah to one person, Vishnu to another, nature to an environmentalist, or perhaps the belief in a collective power and spirit of humans. But how does God view a nation requesting help in the name of a nameless collection of "thoughts and prayers"? Individuals' thoughts and prayers can range from a Roman god to a nameless question mark requested by a man who is simply aligning his thoughts and prayers with another person(s) but again has no clue in terms of who he is specifically requesting for a miracle or who he is actually praying to.
God is a jealous. 4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments .(Exodus 20:4-6) God is a jealous god, meaning that it is impossible for Him to allow himself to stand in the midst of one asking for His favor while simultaneously requesting the help of Buddha and/or Mohammed. Romans 10:13 in the Bible says that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. The Bible specifically states "the name o the Lord". There is no mentioning of Buddha or Pope Benedict XVI meaning it is impossible for a true Christian to ask from God with the mentioning of an "our thoughts and prayers", especially while omitting the Name of Jesus. Jesus is the reason for prayers, It is Jesus who intercedes for us during out times of needs not Vishnu. Imagine Moses and his fellow Israelites while fleeing from Pharaoh yelling out "our thoughts and prayers", or Jesus looking up in the air and screaming "our thoughts and prayers" while hanging on the cross. The story of God freeing the children of Israel from their terrible Pharaoh foe or of Jesus defeating the Cross would not sound the same. This is why one who dutifully follows the Cross must keep watch and alert of the simple utterances defining a rebellion against the sovereignty of our Lord by our national or world leaders. In a world where many are so much ashamed of even mentioning the Name of the Lord, one must refrain from allowing him or herself of following or accepting such bad practices. Let us say it altogether: "In the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ". Now that was not too difficult was it? Well, hopefully not.