Bob Tamasy: Praying Doesn’t Help, Or Does It?

Monday, November 27, 2017 - by Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Our nation has experienced an unusual series of national calamities, including hurricanes in Texas and Florida, and violence that resulted in many casualties in Las Vegas, New York City, and Sutherland Springs, Texas. In response, many elected officials, pastors, leaders of other ministries, and people on social media encouraged prayer for victims and their loved ones. Skeptics have countered with snide comments, such as “praying doesn’t help anything.”

That, I think we can all agree, is a matter of opinion. Certainly, if one doesn’t believe in God, it would be easy to deny that prayer helps anything. But we could say the same about someone who comments, “Sending good thoughts your way.
” Good thoughts? What good is that? Well, at least they’re not sending bad thoughts.

In one sense, I can understand the skepticism. How often have you heard of someone’s plight and said, “I’ll pray for you,” and then gone on with your life and realized you never followed through on the promise to pray? I’ve done that. That’s why I’ve developed a habit of praying right then for the individual, rather than hoping something will jog my memory to do so sometime later.

There’s another side to this question. We pray many times because we know the needs of the individual, or family, or community, are beyond our capacity to meet. We trust in the assurance in Philippians 4:19, “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” The Lord promises to provide for what His children need, even though He doesn’t promise to satisfy our “wants.”

Sometimes, however, as we are praying for God to provide, He is expecting us to become part of His gracious provision. The book of James addresses this when it states, “If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” (James 2:16-17).

So, if we say, “We’ll pray for you,” but fail to consider ways in which we can provide specific, even tangible help in answer to our prayers, we’re failing to muster the full power of prayer. Thankfully, when natural disasters occur, as well as man-caused tragedies, individual believers and congregations are often among the first responders.

Ministries like the Salvation Army and Samaritan’s Purse are on the scene as soon as possible to offer physical, emotional and spiritual assistance. Church groups, and even mercy ministries from various denominations typically are quick to respond as well. They are wonderful examples of putting feet to our prayers.

Even in our own communities, as we hear of various needs – whether it’s a devastating illness, a family fallen on hard times financially, someone seeking employment, or many other possibilities – we find opportunities to both pray and, as God directs, seek to help in meeting those needs.

In response to the comment, “praying doesn’t help anything,” it might be correct if all we do is utter words without backing them up with action. However, prayer does help in many ways. We acknowledge only God can provide some solutions, whether it’s healing someone with a serious, even terminal illness, or a group of people beset by natural disaster halfway around the globe. It can be a means for reaching out to the afflicted, providing much needed spiritual comfort.

And as we pray, God might impress upon our hearts ways in which we can become directly involved, whether it’s making needed repairs to a widow’s home, generously donating to a worthy cause, offering to transport someone to a hospital for medical treatment, volunteering at a soup kitchen, or simply setting aside time to spend with someone needing comfort and perhaps a listening ear.

As the apostle also wrote, “The prayer of a righteous [person] is powerful and effective” (James 5:16). It can be a plea to God, accompanied by a willingness to become one of the ways He chooses to answer that prayer. 

- - - -

Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, former newspaper editor and magazine editor. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include the newly re-published, “Business At Its Best,” “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. To read more of Bob Tamasy’s writings, you can visit his blog,, or his website (now being completed), He can be emailed at

"The Journey" Is Message At Metro Tab Church On Sunday

The public is invited to worship on  Sunday  at  10:30 a.m .   The message preached by Pastor Steve Ball will be "The Journey".   Officials invite kids in the Chattanooga area to join them for Vacation Bible School. The Metro Kidz staff and Youth Pastor Olivia Aziz have a week planned called Shipwrecked...Rescued By Jesus.   ... (click for more)

"Camp Moose On The Loose" VBS Begins July 15 At Middle Cross Baptist

Middle Cross Baptist Church, 4009 Norcross Road in Hixson, will have Vacation Bible School “Camp Moose on the Loose” beginning with a kick off on Sunday, July 15 from 5-8 p.m. for ages four through 13. There will be games, slide, bounce house, hot dogs, and more. VBS continues Monday-Thursday, July 16-19 from 6-8 p.m.  Activities include Bible study, crafts, games and ... (click for more)

Funeral Service For John P. Franklin Will Be Friday; Public Memorial Service Is Thursday Night

Funeral services will be Friday for John P. Franklin, Chattanooga's first elected black official in the post Jim Crow era. Mr. Franklin died Thursday at the age of 96. He will lie in state in the chapel of John P. Franklin Funeral Home from noon until 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday,. Public viewing will resume at 11 a.m. on Thursday at Olivet Baptist Church, and a ... (click for more)

Woman, 20, Killed While Trying To Cross Highway 153 Early Sunday Morning

A woman, 20, was killed early Sunday morning while trying to cross Highway 153. The victim was identified as Ansleigh Kaylyn Harrison. At approximately 1:28 a.m. , Chattanooga Police officers responded to a pedestrian struck at 5256 Highway 153. A Toyota Sequoia driven by 31-year-old Asher Powers was traveling north on Highway 153 in the inside lane. The pedestrian ... (click for more)

John Porter Franklin, Sr.: A Community Gem

In 2016, It was   my honor to have been chosen to recognize African American History Month at the February HCDE board meeting.   Throughout my life, I’ve been taught and exposed to African American history both nationally and locally. In reflecting on what to share, I thought about all that was going on in our community and more importantly in our educational community ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: What’s 28% Of 2,500?

There is a strong likelihood, this based on new data obtained from the Hamilton County Department of Education, that only 700 of this year’s approximately 2,500 high school graduates can tell you what 28 percent of 2,500 is. The 2018 test scores, used to determine what percentage of students in public schools are “scoring on track,” averaged 28.4 percent in our 32 middle and high ... (click for more)