The power of prayer is a wondrous thing.
I read a story last week about two football players from rival high schools in Texas who were photographed earlier this month praying together after the game.
Gage Smith from Sherman High School and Ty Jordan from West Mesquite High School had played 7-on-7 flag football over the spring and summer for the past couple of years and become friends.
But recently they met on the football field on opposing sides, with Sherman High winning the game. But at the end of the game, something very special happened.
Smith went over to Jordan to ask if they could pray together for Jordan’s mother, Tiffany. Jordan’s mom is battling stage 4 lung and bone cancer.
The image went viral, with many who shared it talking about how it symbolized kindness, compassion and a belief in something much greater than ourselves.
Tiffany Jordan told NBC’s “Today” show that the image left her “speechless.” She went on to say, “The fact that [Smith] took the time to pray with Ty for me, that took my breath away.”
In the aftermath of sad news, including personal tragedies, catastrophic events and mass shootings, one of the first offers you see people make is the offer of thoughts and prayers.
Unfortunately, those offering thoughts and prayers after national tragedies are often mocked on social media as being insincere, as not really caring about the victims.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
When someone is suffering, whether a family member, friend, co-worker or someone you don’t know, oftentimes it’s hard to know what to say that would give that person a significant degree of comfort.
A surefire way 99% of the time is to let that person know you’re thinking of them and praying for them. It lets them know you care, that you want things to get better for them and their loved ones. It’s also a powerful reminder of God’s strength.
I have even seen nonbelievers tell people who offer them their thoughts and prayers how much it touched them to know they were praying for them.
Various family members of mine are having health issues. Like most people, I deal day to day with struggles of my own. When I tell friends about them or write about them on social media, it provides an immeasurable amount of comfort for me to hear and read people tell me they’re keeping me and my family in their thoughts and prayers.
After 9/11, I turned to prayer first and foremost. I had been in New York City the day of the horrific terrorist attacks, and though I wasn’t at Ground Zero, being in the same city where the planes hit the towers absolutely shook me to the core.
The first Sunday after 9/11, I was in church with my family because the only thing that could help me through the guilt and grief I felt was praying, and by being prayed for.
“A prayer, a kind word, a hug, especially when you know somebody is going through something, that’s like the best thing you can do for a person,” Tiffany Jordan told the “Today” show.
Indeed. Never underestimate the power of prayer.
Stacey Matthews is a veteran blogger who has also written under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah and is a regular contributor to Red State and Legal Insurrection.