Lufkin's National Day of Prayer brings up "thoughts and prayers" issue

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Christians from across Lufkin shared in an hour of prayer Thursday that some feel was more powerful because of its diversity.

"When we come together in unity, God can't help but hear and we'll hear a response from heaven," said pastor, Vernon Austin.

But, others say they are aware of the negative feeling towards what some of called the thoughts and prayers trend, usually seen on social media.

"It is kind of custom to say thoughts and prayers," said pastor, James Briggs. "Not to say that there's no sincerity in it. But, it's probably become more of a cliche."

The difference to Briggs is what people choose to do after they pray.

"We don't dump everything on God and say hey, fix it," Briggs said. "And, act as if God isn't going to use us as part of the solution."

But, others believe that the even a Facebook message is enough to bring someone help.

"They're no empty words offered up in prayer, even if it's a written prayer a Facebook prayer, if it's a copy and paste prayer," said pastor, Cynthia Doran. "God will fill those words, he'll find the heart that needs to hear them and he will fill those words."

One of Briggs' biggest prayers is one he plans to act on every Sunday.

"Part of the action is just realizing, okay," Briggs said. "Look around my congregation, see who's all not there. Why not? What can I do about it."

The event coordinators say they have seen the number of people participating grow over the last few years.

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