Imagine this: You wake up to the sound of your alarm, groggily reaching for your phone to check the latest news. As you scroll through your social media feed, your heart sinks. Another tragic incident of gun violence has occurred, leaving countless lives shattered and communities in mourning. Your mind fills with a mixture of sorrow, anger, and helplessness.

For years, you’ve seen the same cycle happen over and over again. Politicians offering their “thoughts and prayers” in the aftermath of each tragedy, only for the news to fade away, and nothing substantial to change. You’ve come to realize that these well-intentioned sentiments, while comforting to some, fall short in the face of such pervasive and preventable violence.

But what if there’s more we can do? What if we can harness the power of our faith and turn it into meaningful action? This is where activism and faith intersect.

Many individuals and communities of faith are waking up to the realization that they have a vital role to play in creating real change. They understand that faith without action is incomplete, and that the pursuit of justice and love for their neighbors requires more than just solemn words.

Activism and faith can go hand in hand, as people of all religious backgrounds come together to address the root causes of gun violence, advocate for stronger gun laws, and support those affected by the devastating impact of firearms.

In this article, we’ll delve into the importance of moving beyond “thoughts and prayers” and explore how faith-based activism can make a tangible difference in our society. From the need for political engagement to the power of community involvement, we’ll uncover the ways in which individuals of faith can play a crucial role in promoting social change.

Key Takeaways:

  • Activism and faith intersect to address the root causes of gun violence.
  • Moving beyond “thoughts and prayers” is vital for creating real change.
  • Political engagement and community involvement are essential in promoting social change.
  • Faith-based activism can make a tangible difference in advocating for stronger gun laws.
  • Supporting those impacted by gun violence is a crucial aspect of faith-based activism.

The Importance of Action Beyond Thoughts and Prayers.

After a major tragedy like the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, people offer condolences with the pledge to keep victims in their ‘thoughts and prayers.’ But many have become disillusioned by the phrase. Religious leaders in South Florida say faith communities can offer more besides prayers. For them, prayer is a starting point. The next step is to have government act, and communities of faith should be working together to inspire change.”[1]

Stepping Up for Social Change

The phrase ‘thoughts and prayers’ has become a popular response to tragic events, but it isn’t enough to create real change. It is essential to move beyond passive sentiments and engage in meaningful action. This involves embracing social change, actively participating in political engagement, and getting involved in community initiatives.

“Faith communities have the potential to be catalysts for social change through political engagement and community involvement. It starts with prayer and reflection, but it must be followed by tangible steps to inspire and drive transformation within society. By coming together, faith communities can create a powerful force for social justice and equality. It is time to move beyond thoughts and prayers and take concrete action.”

Engaging in social change requires amplifying voices and advocating for policies and programs that foster positive transformation. It means creating platforms for open dialogue and collaboration, challenging systemic inequalities, and working towards a more inclusive and equitable society.

Political Engagement: Making Your Voice Heard

Political engagement is a crucial aspect of effecting change in society. It involves actively participating in the democratic process, holding elected officials accountable, and advocating for policies that align with one’s values. By getting involved in grassroots movements, joining advocacy groups, and mobilizing communities, individuals can make their voices heard and influence decision-making processes.

Through political engagement, faith communities can play a significant role in shaping legislation and policies that address social issues such as gun violence. By partnering with like-minded organizations, faith leaders can effectively advocate for stronger gun control measures and support comprehensive solutions that prioritize community safety and well-being.

Community Involvement: Building Sustainable Change

Community involvement is another essential aspect of driving social change. By actively participating in local initiatives, faith communities can contribute to building stronger, more resilient neighborhoods. This involvement can take various forms, including volunteering, organizing events, supporting community programs, and collaborating with other organizations.

When faith communities work together, they can create a transformative impact on social issues. By engaging with community members, understanding their needs, and providing resources and support, these communities become agents of change. They can foster a sense of belonging, promote unity, and inspire others to join in the pursuit of a more just and compassionate society.

Empowering faith communities to contribute to social change goes beyond offering thoughts and prayers. It requires action, political engagement, and community involvement to make a substantial and lasting impact.

  1. WLRN 91.3 FM: “After School Shootings, South Florida’s Faith Communities Say Prayers Need To Be Followed By Action”

Faith Leaders Encourage Political Involvement.

When it comes to the issue of gun control, many religious leaders have been passive, failing to address the urgent need for change. Rev. Durrell Watkins from Sunshine Cathedral in Fort Lauderdale firmly believes that their role is to be a voice for the oppressed and to challenge their congregations to be politically engaged. Watkins emphasizes, ‘Religious leaders need to re-embrace their prophetic tradition. We need to speak truth to power.’

Following the tragic events at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, students transformed their grief into activism with the powerful hashtag #NeverAgain. This movement has become a shining example of how faith communities can make a difference. Watkins and other advocates argue that faith leaders must follow the lead of these brave students by encouraging their communities to take action and fight for meaningful change.

“Religious leaders need to re-embrace their prophetic tradition. We need to speak truth to power.”

– Rev. Durrell Watkins, Sunshine Cathedral

Faith Communities Driving Social Change

Engaging in political activism is not just a responsibility, but a calling for people of faith. Faith communities have the power to create real and lasting change by mobilizing their members and advocating for policies that promote peace, justice, and safety for all. By standing up for the rights of the vulnerable and confronting the systemic injustices that perpetuate violence, faith leaders can make a significant impact.

Partnering with Local Organizations

To effectively address the issue of gun violence, faith leaders should collaborate with local organizations and activists who are already working on the ground. By forming partnerships, faith communities can amplify their influence and contribute to a collective effort for change. Together, they can organize events, promote awareness campaigns, and advocate for sensible gun laws.

Cultivating Community Involvement

Community involvement is essential for making substantial progress in the fight against gun violence. Faith leaders should encourage their congregations to attend rallies, participate in public forums, and engage in conversations with elected officials about the urgent need for gun reform. By facilitating dialogue and providing opportunities for community involvement, faith communities can become powerful catalysts for social change.

Example of Faith-Based Activism

One inspiring example of faith-based activism is the Moms Demand Action organization, led by Angela Ferrell-Zabala. As the executive director of Moms Demand Action, Ferrell-Zabala combines her Christian faith with her passion for community organizing to advocate for gun safety policies. Her work demonstrates how faith can be a driving force behind meaningful action to address the pervasive issue of gun violence.

Taking Faith-Based Activism to the Next Level.

When it comes to addressing the alarming rate of gun-related deaths in the United States, Angela Ferrell-Zabala, the executive director of Moms Demand Action, firmly believes that faith without action is simply not enough. As the head of a network of dedicated volunteers working tirelessly to protect individuals from gun violence, Ferrell-Zabala emphasizes the urgent need for elected officials to champion gun safety policies and for communities to address the root causes of violence.

Ferrell-Zabala’s unwavering commitment to her cause stems from her lifelong experience as a community organizer. Viewing her work as an embodiment of her faith, she sees faith-based activism as a powerful tool to create positive change and help solve the crisis of gun violence.

“Faith without works is like a bird without wings; it cannot soar.” – Angela Ferrell-Zabala

Ferrell-Zabala acknowledges the power of prayer but firmly believes that true progress requires action. With an estimated 132 gun-related deaths occurring each day in the United States, it is crucial for individuals, communities, and elected officials to take a proactive stance in addressing this pressing issue.

By combining their faith with activism, religious communities have the potential to make a substantial impact. Ferrell-Zabala’s work exemplifies the principle that genuine change happens when faith is coupled with action, advocacy, and grassroots efforts.

As the executive director of Moms Demand Action, Ferrell-Zabala is at the forefront of the fight against gun violence. By harnessing the power of faith and mobilizing communities, she exemplifies the potential for faith-based activism to bring about significant social change.

Continue reading to discover how faith, family, and action intersect in the pursuit of a safer society in the next section.

Faith, Family, and Action.

Angela Ferrell-Zabala, a Christian and the executive director of Moms Demand Action, comes from a multi-racial, multi-faith family. Growing up, she saw the nuns at her Catholic grade school show up for their communities and learned the importance of looking out for others.

She believes that peace, community, and love are the three things that ring out across religious traditions. Ferrell-Zabala sees prayer as a way to ask for guidance and direction in her work and views her experiences with gun violence as divine acts and reminders of her purpose.

Angela’s Key Principles:

  1. Peace
  2. Community
  3. Love

For Angela Ferrell-Zabala, these principles are at the core of both her faith and her mission to bring about social change and community involvement.

Principles Description
Peace Creating a world free from gun violence and promoting harmony among all people.
Community Fostering a sense of belonging and support within neighborhoods and society as a whole.
Love Showing compassion and empathy towards those affected by gun violence and advocating for their well-being.

Angela Ferrell-Zabala draws strength from her faith and upbringing, using them as sources of inspiration as she works towards social change and community involvement in the fight against gun violence.


Working on gun control weighs heavily on people of faith and organizers alike. When confronted with the news of another shooting, Angela Ferrell-Zabala, executive director of Moms Demand Action, acknowledges the pain and reflects on her purpose. She believes that faith leaders have a critical role in advocating for stronger gun laws and consoling those affected by gun violence.

While progress is being made, there is still much work to be done. The need for elected officials who champion gun safety policies and for communities to address the root causes of violence remains. Faith-based activism and prayer play essential roles in driving real change.

Faith-based activism goes beyond mere thoughts and prayers, mobilizing communities to take action and demand meaningful reforms. It requires faith leaders and individuals to come together, raise their voices, and work towards a society free from the devastating impact of gun violence. Let us continue to stand united, fueled by our faith and driven by the urgency for change.


What does it mean when people say “thoughts and prayers”?

When people say “thoughts and prayers,” it is often a way to express sympathy and solidarity with those who have experienced a tragedy or hardship. It is a way to let them know that they are in your thoughts and that you are praying for them.

Why have people become disillusioned with the phrase “thoughts and prayers”?

Some people have become disillusioned with the phrase “thoughts and prayers” because they feel that it has been overused and has become a hollow gesture. They believe that true action is needed to address the issues at hand, rather than just offering thoughts and prayers.

How can faith communities inspire change beyond prayers?

Faith communities can inspire change by taking action beyond prayers. This can include engaging in political advocacy, supporting legislation for social change, and actively working to address injustices and support those who are hurting.

What is the role of religious leaders in addressing gun control?

Religious leaders have a critical role in addressing gun control by using their platforms to advocate for stronger gun laws and to confront injustices. They can challenge their congregations to be more politically involved and to actively work towards creating safer communities.

How can faith-based activism contribute to social change?

Faith-based activism can contribute to social change by utilizing the values of love, peace, and community that are present in religious traditions. Through prayer, advocacy, and community involvement, faith-based activists can help bring about real change in gun safety policies and address the root causes of violence.