Sunday, October 23, 2016

"All About Me" Prayers

A reading on prayer told me to begin prayer with a time of praise to God.  After praising God, the writing directed me to spend some time in thanksgiving and after the thanksgiving, there should be a time of intercession for those in need.  When all this is completed, the time remaining could be spent in praying for personal needs.  Of course, we understand that this pattern for prayer keeps us from turning our prayer time into something which resembles a Christian list of wants and wishes.  Also, implied within these prayer instructions was the idea that if any part of prayer should be short-changed, let it be the part that focuses on personal needs.
But, it is also true that each one of us has personal needs peculiar to our own living.  What is needed is not a prayer pattern that makes us guilty for prayers about me, but one that helps us maintain balance between the "me prayers" of our life and the other kinds of praying.  The 54th Psalm is an example of prayer that could be characterized as one that is "all about me"  It begins with "Save me, O God, by Your mercy, and vindicate me by Your might.  Hear my prayer, O God, give ear to the words of my mouth."  (Psalms 54:1-2)  And as the rest of the prayer is read, it is obvious that this prayer is one of those "all about me" prayers.

While a prayer life that consists of nothing but "all about me" prayers would be unhealthy spiritually, such prayers are not to be avoided anymore than we would avoid sharing with a good friend the difficulties and troubles of our life.  Certainly, God delights in hearing prayers that speak of our compassion for our neighbors, but He is also a Father who is interested in the struggles that we own as we pray.  When Jesus taught us to pray "Our Father,"  He opened the door for us to enter into an intimate relationship where personal needs are shared naturally and without any fear or hesitation.

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