Thoughts and Prayers Are Not Enough– Even for the Faithful

A pious, faithful man was caught in a horrific flood and the water was rising. This man trusted God with every fiber of his being and knew in his heart that God would rescue him.

Soon, a neighbor came by in a canoe and said, “Glad I saw you before I left. Hop in, I’ll paddle us to safety.”

“No, thanks,” said the religious man. “I’ve prayed to God and I trust he will save me.”

Later, as the water continued to rise, a crew of police officers came by in a boat.

“Glad we found you,” an officer said. “Hop in, we’ll take you to safety.”

“No, thanks,” said the religious man. “I’ve prayed to God and I trust he will save me.”

The water continued to rise as predicted. A rescue helicopter hovered above the man’s house. A first responder let down a rope ladder and shouted at the man below with a bullhorn—“Don’t worry! We’re here! Climb the ladder and we’ll fly you to safety!”

“No, thanks!” shouted the religious man. “I’ve prayed to God and I trust he will save me.”

The water continued to rise. The religious man, who all along trusted that God would save him, drowned.

In the afterlife, he had an opportunity to speak directly to the creator. Dejected, the man said, “Lord, I led a faithful life. I prayed that you would save me and yet, here I am!”

“Yes, you did,” God replied to the man. “And I sent you a canoe, a boat, and a helicopter.”


This parable was first told to me by a pastor in the Christian church I attended before I was baptized. If you follow my blog, you may know I no longer identify as a Christian. But this parable is still one of my favorites and remains true to my beliefs.

I do have a strong belief in a God, who is good and plays an active role in our world. I regularly pray and that brings me solace.

But, we also play an active role in our world. Thoughts and prayers are not enough. I believe it’s unfair to pray that God intervenes and acts to solve the problems we create when we are unwilling to act ourselves.

So, yes, if you are a faithful person who prays, please pray. Pray for the families left behind trying to make sense of this senseless tragedy. Pray for those who kissed their loved ones goodbye for the last time. Pray they find serenity in the cruelty.

But, please, act. It’s not too soon to talk about what we can do to prevent these tragedies from happening in the future. It’s too late.

I fear we’re drowning. If we’re sent a rowboat, we need to hop in.

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