"And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive,
if you have faith."
I see the sarcasm often on social media--after any natural disaster, shooting, terrorist attack, and now during the pandemic. Somebody invariably makes the comment, "instead of so many people saying 'hopes and prayers' why don't you do something useful?"
Do something useful they say. Like what?
What can I do to stop a hurricane from slamming into the coast of Florida?
What can I do to change the heart of a terrorist determined to kill innocent people?
What can I do to stop a virus?
What can I do to stop children from dying from a horrible disease?
Sure, there's a few things I can do on my own. I can support causes like the Shriner's Hospitals and St. Jude's. I can donate to relief efforts after hurricanes and tornadoes. I can volunteer in my community food bank or homeless shelter. I can protect myself from the virus by doing those responsible things we know help to mitigate the spread. But I can't stop any of these things on my own.
But one powerful thing I can do is pray. I can talk to God, and ask him to intercede on our behalf.
Jesus said in Matthew 9:28, "Do you believe that I am able to do this?" And that's the entire question right there. Do you believe? The blind man Jesus asked that question of did believe, and because of the strength of his own belief in Jesus his sight was restored. If your faith is great enough, through God all things are possible.
Don't get upset when people say things like that. They simply don't understand. They aren't believers, and they've never seen the power of prayer--so pray for them, too! Maybe someday, those same people that make remarks like that will come to understand God, and learn that praying is hardly useless.