Preparing for my next trip to Haiti, I am impressed with the topic of communication with God. It is something I need to learn more about. This approach seems to work pretty well. God shows me something I need to learn and I share my learning experience with others. That said, I invite anyone reading here to chime in with your thoughts on the subject. You can reply to posts, or add replies to the Haiti retreat page I have created. Today’s case-in-point is the following.
I have often been taught that we should pray for others. In fact, there are many places in scripture where we are taught that we should. But somehow I have gotten the impression that praying for myself is selfish. That it should be “saved for last,” keeping God and others top priority in my prayers. I think that may be wrong. Jesus was asked how we should pray, so he gave an example. The first part of the sample prayer was recognizing the greatness of God. The rest of the prayer was all about . . . me. Sure the prayer says “us,” but I am certainly one of “us.” Give us our daily bread. Forgive us our sins. Lead us not into temptation. Deliver us from evil.
As another example: In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus takes some disciples with him to prepare for the cross that is ahead. He asks them to pray. If it were me about to go through an ordeal, I would be saying “Boys, you guys pray for me! Pray hard! Pray loud! Ask God to deliver me from this trial!” Instead, he tells them to pray for themselves. Pray that they won’t “enter into temptation.”
So, here’s my thesis: Praying for others won’t do much good unless my relationship with God is right. Therefore, humbly pray for myself first, then I will be able to pray more effectively for others.
If I am wrong on this, please pray in your prayers that God will set me straight. I will certainly be praying the same . . . for myself. 😉
See Mathew 6:5-15, Luke 22:39-40