Every few days it seems there is a new hashtag or temporary, social media, profile picture 'cast' along the lines of 'pray for the-latest-place-to-have-a-tragedy'.
And I totally understand why people use them, because rendered helpless but whatever it may be, this is something that anyone can do.
But pray what, exactly?
It troubles me not just because I am not sure what to pray - let there be peace/healing/reconciliation/justice etc - but because I am not sure it isn't just a sop to our own consciences. We utter a quick prayer and go back to our own world.
What is needed is not so much to 'type the prayer' but to 'be the prayer' - and that's much harder. Because it inevitably means being selective, taking a standpoint, doing something other than wringing our hands or sighing holy sighs; it means accepting we cannot do everything whilst recognising that we must do something.
What might I do, small and local, that lives out that prayer? Pray for [insert name] by all means, but, if I may plagiarise the book of James, prayer, like faith, without deeds, is as good as dead.