Stop praying and start doing

Kavya Desikan, Social Media Manager

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Over the past two years, anytime a tragedy happens Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat becomes filled with hashtags like ‘#Prayfor____’. Whether it be a terrorist attack or a natural disaster, the top trending hashtags on Twitter asks us to #Prayfor whoever falls victim to tragedy and to #PrayfortheWorld.

It’s great that people are paying attention to others in times of strife and showing some form of compassion. But, are they really?

Praying is great, and times of strife often test our relationship with religion. However, there comes a point where prayer can grow ineffective. When we pray for these people and places, we pray that they find relief from hardship. Often, relief from hardship comes when people donate money. After all, money doesn’t grow on trees and hurricane-stricken islands don’t repair overnight.

It’s time to take responsibility for our prayers, to force them into action. We need to begin pushing our prayers into action by sending money and supplies, by calling our elected officials so we vocalize our want for change.

Imagine how much money Puerto Rico would have if everyone who tweeted #PrayForPuerto donated five dollars to a local non-profit. I know that for high school students especially, it’s hard for us to send money we don’t have. Despite that, there are still things we can do to aid the cause. We can organize fundraisers and donation drives, we can phone bank and call others to action. We can also organize events to spread awareness.

Things like phone banking are especially powerful for people like us, who don’t have a formal say in government. Phone banking allows you to call people to action and spread awareness to the people who can vote and influence government. Donation drives are especially important because they give people the resources they need faster and at no cost to them when supplies are low.

By creating organizing to create causes like this, you not only help others on your behalf, but now give people a reason and way to help others in times of need.

As positive as #PrayFor hashtags are great for awareness, they are also a great cause for apathy. People feel so aware and fulfilled about spreading word to their followers on social media that they don’t think about actually aiding those who need the prayers.

This is not bashing religion and prayer, this is simply a request for those who pray. If we have the capability to push our prayers into action, we should. Prayer is powerful, but so is money for those in need, and so is activism for those unhappy or affected by government and legislation.

It’s time to fight couch activism and awareness, it’s time to become the generation that mobilizes to begin the change we want to see. It doesn’t matter what you believe, it matters how you act on your belief. It’s time to practice what we preach.

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