In recent weeks (since the Orlando shooting), I've read a great deal of frustration from people where it concerns offering thoughts and prayers to tragic situations. I understand where this frustration comes from. It's easier to 'like' a post or write a quick note of sympathy and get on with the day than it is to engage a tragic situation, so offering thoughts and prayers can seem trite to people who are suffering.
But it isn't always possible to support the people and things we care about as fully as we might want. Sometimes posting an offer of thoughts and prayers online is all we can do because of our personal circumstances. Having said that, one of the cornerstones of spiritual teaching is that we introspect first, which makes thinking and praying good places to start.
So I believe in thoughts and prayers. Good thoughts change the self. Prayers put us in touch with our understanding of the divine. But if we're offering good thoughts, we should think. If we're offering prayers, we should pray. It's important not to make empty offers out of good will but rather to do what we say we will do. The least that can happen is that we'll find ourselves in a better place to engage tragic situations. And from that place, we should reach out when we can, every time we can. The world needs thinking, praying people who act.