need help. am such a mess today. can’t believe what I just did. can’t get over this. don’t understand. wish I wasn’t like this. wish You’d do something about this person.
I get to these points–sometimes after work, sometimes DURING work, sometimes after class, sometimes between class, sometimes after I’ve been around certain people, even after I do something like teach or lead worship at church–where I just have to stop, and the last thing I know to do is pray. I’m so exhausted, exasperated, frustrated, confused, insert emotion here, that I literally can’t go forward until I stop, and I pray. I always begin with these two words: “Lord, I…”
Today, I noticed this. I’m starting to think that “Lord, I…” are arguably the worst two words I can start with. The thing is, my prayer life tends to be about me. I pray when I need to. I know it’s cliche, but in my case, it’s true. I pray when something’s wrong with me.
My thought as I was driving in the car today is this: I want my prayers to not be about me, both in their frequency as well as content. I want to pray for my church, for people I know, for people God puts on my heart, etc. But this gives way to a question: does others-focused prayer come once all of my “stuff” is out of the way, or does others-focused prayer get my mind off my “stuff?”
I think both are the wrong question. The Gospel deals with both issues. First, the Gospel deals with my “stuff,” because it takes away my neediness. Jesus died for my “stuff:” my tiredness, my jealousy, my anxiety, my fear, etc. Resting in God’s perfect love displayed in Jesus’ perfect work does away with all of that.
Second, by the same token, the Gospel births a love for others. Seeing the way Jesus dealt with people, seeing His love for humanity and how the cross was not exclusively for me helps me see that God cares about others, and being adopted in the family of God births in me the interests of God, which include the well-being of others. Love begets love, mercy begets mercy, and compassion begets compassion.