I've got an online friend who's been having it rough lately. Dialysis, loss of work, bills piling up, you get the idea. As a friend it's hard to see someone having a hard time, knowing that you can't fix it for them. Many believers, who can't be in a position to help, are quick to say "...but I'll pray for you."
Prayer is one of those things I have a hard time understanding, as it relates to faith. If I am to understand correctly, a large part of faith involves believing that the Almighty Whatever has a big, perfect, ineffable plan for each and every person. But then, people ask the Almighty Whatever for stuff through prayer. Does this not suggest that the plan might be somehow, well, effable? If Almighty Whatever is all-knowing and has it all figured out, why ask for anything at all?
So as you can well imagine, I for one am not content with saying "...but I'll pray for you" when a friend is in need. Instead, I gave what very little I can spare (wishing it could be more!), and then asked a bunch of other people if they could do the same, and to pass the message along. I don't know if it's enough to help him out of his rut, but I am confident that it got him a hell of a lot further along than if I'd prayed instead.
Said friend stated that he felt truly blessed by the people who have helped him out so far, and then apologized (half-jokingly, I think) to me for his use of the word "blessed". But that doesn't upset me at all. I think that blessings most certainly do exist; just that we humans are much better at it.
P.S.: The original post by my friend in need, with information to his PayPal, is here.