Some things I can't do a darn thing about. If a friend has shared a worry or is dealing with the loss of loved one, maybe all I can offer - and all they need from me - is to keep them on my heart for a while.
But there is an awful lot of stuff - even huge, tangled-up stuff - that needs more than thoughts and prayers. These are the thoughts and prayers than demand action.
My friend may need a hug. Or a phone call. Or a hand-written note. Or someone to share a meal or a glass of wine with. Or to pick up her kids from school.
My congressfolk probably need a phone call, fax, or postcard letting them know how I feel about something pertaining to the latest catastrophe or political tangle. Yeah, it may not matter much to them, but if I keep at it - who knows? Big positive things may happen. (Hope springs eternal, y'all.)
Maybe I need to send money to a reliable relief and development agency that knows way more about how to help in a natural disaster than I do. I can certainly help fund folks who can be of real benefit to people who are suffering.
Perhaps all I can do is listen to someone in pain or in trouble. Even if that person is a stranger, the least I can do is hear her story, put my own agenda on hold for a while, and honor what she has to say. Some positive path may emerge - who knows?
My own actions won't seem world-savingly grand. In fact, most of what will grow out of my own thoughts and prayers will seem like baby steps to me. Inconsequential. Unimportant little drops in gigantic buckets. But something is better than nothing.
So certainly keep those thoughts and prayers rolling in. But if you're thinking and praying about things that require your action and you do nothing, well then, my friend, it is just so much sounding brass and tinkling cymbal. Pull your head out of the clouds (or sand) and get going. Think. Pray. Do something.