Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Selfishness of Prayer?

I prayed for someone today. I prayed because I was worried about her. I prayed because there was nothing else I could do.

I prayed because I knew it would make me feel better.

Wow, how selfish is that? But it's the truth. Sure, I was praying for her ultimate well-being, but I was led to pray because I was worried about her immediate well-being and I wanted relief for me.

Is there anything Scriptural about that? Any defense? Maybe. What if God alerted me to her need... and what if it was His will that I pray for her? The little bit of knowledge (and the extras my imagination couldn't keep from adding) caused me to feel a strong emotional pull toward this person. There were no words I could share, no comfort I could extend, nothing I could do to help her. The anxiety I felt on her behalf kept increasing, but there was no outlet for it except prayer.

I know it's His desire that we pray for one another. My worry compelled me to do the only thing I could do, so I found another believer and we interceded together. It would have felt good to know the rest of the story, to know how our friend was doing. We didn't have access to any more information, so we presented her needs to the One who has all access, all the time. He knows. He cares. And it's okay that we feel a little better as we continue to pray and wait.

With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints...

UPDATE: Continuing in prayer. While Saturday's prayer break helped me to feel better, the need is still great. Still no details, but God knows.


Miss Kitty said...

There was something about this on the other day. It really got my mental wheels turning. Hmmmm.

Xcinia said...

I think prayer is sort of like the oxygen masks on a plane. You need to put yours on first before you can help others.
If I get to a point where I'm so stressed that any attempt to pray for someone else is blocked, the channels only open after I take care of myself.
It's knowing yourself and taking care of yourself so that you can take care of others.

Katharine said...

Miss K, maybe I should look up that NPR story. It must have been interesting. Penny for your thoughts?

Xcinia, at this moment I'm in that very place. It's probably due in large part to the late hour, but I'm feeling emotionally fatigued, too. But what a blessing to know where I can find the oxygen I need!

Xcinia said...

I know exactly what you mean by emotional fatigue. And in my own case, when I feel this way I need to renew my emotional health, even if it comes at the expense of someone else. If I end up in a soft room wearing a white jacket, I certainly will not be any good to anyone.
I continually return to that saying, 'God doesn't give you more than you can handle'. At times it seems like He does, but I think that is my short-sightedness. He knows that I am stronger than I think I am. He knows I am much more capable than I want to admit. He's in charge, not me.
So go do some things that fill your soul - every day. Take care of yourself - however selfish this is perceived - and your emotional fatigue will lessen considerably.
And know that I have been saying prayers for you for many years.