Our prayer meetings usually become lists of people in crisis. People who have lost loved ones, people in the hospital near death, or other crises. I was wondering how this fits with how Jesus told us to pray. What does he tell us to pray for? "Father, give us what we need today. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who've sinned against us."
I'm wondering, when I go to prayer meeting and say "Let's remember Joe in the hospital," and don't mention that I'm feeling grumpy about stuff at work; or don't admit I focus on entertaining myself much more than I do on being like Jesus in my world, am I missing the point? Am I thinking we only need God in the crises, not in the everyday messes? That I'm managing my life OK, it's only Joe that needs help?
Or am I thinking that God has only a limited ability or desire to answer prayers, and Joe's cancer is a higher priority than my messes? Scripture does tell us to bear one another's burdens, so putting Joe's burden ahead of mine is probably a good thing. But if I never mention my burden, maybe that isn't a good thing. Because prayer is not a lottery with only a few winners.
Compassion for others worse off than ourselves is a good thing. But the airline safety talk always says to put your own oxygen mask on before helping someone else. If you pass out trying to help someone else you haven't helped them. Is prayer like that? If we don't bring our own needs and life before God, we can't really help others? I think that could be the case. I think we need a balance of praying for ourselves and praying for others.