Is prayer just slacktivism in disguise?

Is prayer just slacktivism in disguise?

Whenever devastation hits — especially when it’s somewhere in the Western world — we see #Prayfor [Insert country or cause] take over our newsfeed. Now, I don’t doubt that those who post this feel deeply for the millions who are affected by fatal natural and human-made disasters. I don’t doubt that, yes, a single hashtag can alert people to what is going around in the world and prompt them to learn more about what they can do to help.

What I do question is whether they are still just words. Do the same people who post that hashtag get down on their knees and actually pray? Then there is the question of whether praying actually does anything, especially when a hurricane, flood or fire spreads and devastates indiscriminately.

I believe that there needs to be both Prayer and Action. Through prayer, it is God who guides me and who lays out the path before me but God also gifted me with feet and hands to move forward.

So no, prayer is not ‘slacktivism’, especially when it’s doubled with positive and effective action for the greater good.

So share that hashtag, that campaign cry, that real story of those who have suffered. Pray for those who are experiencing heartache and are nursing wounds continents away (or even just a room away). But, and this is a big But, don’t stop there.

If you are unable to donate money, donate your time to help those in need practically by being on the ground, lending an empathetic ear or educating others on what is happening in a particular area.

And before you post on social media on what you have done, ask  yourself what your reasons are for posting it in the first place? If it’s for validation, a pat on the back or even getting the most likes, then maybe it’s better to hit delete. The only validation you should be looking for isn’t on social media and the ones who need your help the most are probably not searching that hashtag. The biggest validation is from the One whose name starts with capital G.

“Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. ” – Psalm 37:5-6

When you pray and actively help others with no expectation of anything in return, that’s when you make the biggest impact.

What you can do

Uniting World has a number of resources and initiatives making a real difference to the lives of our Pacific neighbours, who are already feeling the impact of climate change. Find out more here.

Today also is the second anniversary of the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Follow this link to find out about what you and your community can contribute to help end world poverty, tackle climate change and reduce inequality.



Melissa Stewart


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