"With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints." (Ephesians 6:18)
We have all heard it and some of us have even said it "so and so are in our thoughts and prayers". Even people whom we know could not say a prayer to save their lives, or say they are atheists or not Christians will repeat this cliche.
But even worse than this, Christians are using the same phrase when wrapped up in the moment. Beyond all of the bluster about "being in our thoughts and prayers", do any of these folks actually pray for those to whom they say these things. From personal experience, before I realized I used to do the same thing, I can tell you that it is very easy to tell someone you will pray for them, then walk away and completely fail to do. Such a move is not right, even if we remember to pray three of four days later. After realizing my shortcoming, in this area of Faith, corrective action needed to be taken so this aspect of ministry could function with an unction.
Basically, when a person says to another that "you are in my thoughts and prayers" and then does not do so, it is deception. There are ways to avoid that and do the right thing...and that is, to really pray for there person right then and there. Sometimes, circumstances and potential discomfort of the recipient of those prayers, WILL prevent us from praying then and there with the person. In this case it is really beneficial to such a person, and then pertinent to our spiritual growth, if we take a note of the situation and immediately begin to pray in silence. Then, after getting to a place we can pray intensely, for real, we must bear down and contend for the recipient of our intercession.
There is a really memorable passage in Scripture of a woman who was the beneficiary of more than just "thoughts and prayers". 1 Kings 17:21-22 tells us of the great prophet Elijah, who had been staying with a widow woman and her son. He had already blessed the widow and proven himself as a man of God by miraculously causing her food not to run out, so that the widow, her son, and Elijah could all eat during a time of famine and drought. But during his stay, the widow’s son became ill and died. When Elijah prayed for the child’s life to return to him, God answered right away. This is a dramatic, immediate instance of God answering prayer....and instant prayer!
The Bible said of Elijah in these two verses: "Then he stretched himself upon the child three times and cried to the Lord, ‘O Lord my God, let this child’s life come into him again.’ And the Lord listened to the voice of Elijah. And the life of the child came into him again, and he revived". We may not be able to pray someone back from the dead, but we sure can lift high such a one to the One Who heals, reveals and blesses all things and all people - Yahweh Rophe - the God Who heals! He is Yahweh Shammah - the God Who is there for us if we cry out earnestly and pray for those ....truly pray for them, with all the Faith we can muster in our spirit, so that the Lord will hear from Heaven and answer our prayers. Why did God listen to Elijah? He listened because of the close relationship He had with this imperfect man who was serving a perfect God. God listen to Elijah's thoughts, prayers and then ACTIONS to put His prayer and Faith into action mightily!
Then God responded by restoring the child to his mother....all because Faith in the Lord changes everything and FAITH IN ACTION, brings results. Amen.