Friday, September 24, 2010

Wonderings on Prayer

Every morning we gather here at the seminary for chapel.  It's a great time of worship, scripture reading and once a week, a celebration of the Lord's Supper.
Every day after chapel we gather in the atrium for a time of fellowship before classes resume.  The pattern is always the same which makes me happy because I love patterns and routine.  First the floor is opened up for introductions...anyone who is visiting the seminary (family members, past professors, significant others) is introduced to the community.  Then there is time for announcements. People share news of what ever events are in the works...ultimate frisbee Friday at 3, apple picking Monday at 2, a guest lecture Wednesday at 1...
Then we move to prayer requests.  I've been here a few weeks now and noticed something...people are quick to ask for prayer: for other people.  People ask for prayer for their families, friends who are sick, communities that are hurting, but seldom, if ever, have I heard someone ask for prayer for themselves.
Why is that?  I'm guilty of it too.  I ask for prayers for Baby Jacob who was born very prematurely and is fighting for his life, I ask for prayer David TenB, who was beaten badly and is recovering from a head injury.  Why can we ask for prayers for others and not ourselves?  is there some unwritten rule about it?
I don't have an answer, I just wonder, and I invite your thoughts on this. Why is that we feel free to ask for prayers for others, but hesitate to ask for prayer for ourselves, even when we desperately need them?

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

So what is your prayer request? :)
-Sarah Elizabeth

Joy said...

:) for tonight, nothing. It was honestly a post of pure wondering, nothing more.

Olga said...

Maybe we're ashamed... maybe we feel like we'd be being selfish for asking for prayers for ourselves... maybe we don't really think we need it as much as others... maybe we think it's a "dumb" prayer request... the list could go on.
These conclusions are kind of ridiculous and I'm ashamed to say they probably apply to myself. I'm not really sure how we can change that.

Joy said...

It could be selfishness...as a culture we are taught that selflessness is the way to go, so asking for something for ourselves could be construed as selfishness.
Could it also maybe be pride? Perhaps we are too proud to admit that we need help, that we need others to support us...

Bethany said...

I think there's something about the vulnerability in that setting. You are surrounded by your peers--those you love and trust, but also those you don't. Its a huge risk to wear your heart on your sleeve in that setting and not know what they are thinking or how they may be judging you.

I also think in some ways once we offer ourselves as desiring prayer, we can become an object--a prayer request rather than a person. I don't know if that makes sense, but these are some of my thoughts...

Joy said...

Interesting point Bethany. I had not thought about prayer objectifying people before. I wonder how that carries over to other people we offer up for prayer...do we make them objects as well?
I totally get the vulnerability thing too. It's hard when you don't know everyone real well, but I find even in smaller, more intimate settings, it's hard to request prayer for yourself. At least it is for me..