It was a gray sky morning. On this October day there was a nip in the air as we took our seat at the local Whole Foods store for a bit of breakfast. Sitting with a dear friend, we situated ourselves with cups and cutlery and then bowed our head in prayer. We had just finished attending a weekend conference where we were privileged to hear Kay Arthur speak on inductive Bible study.
As we conversed, we were interrupted by a woman who had seen us in prayer. She began telling us a lengthy story of her woes, needs, and concerns. She was dealing with many physical ailments, and I really felt for this woman. I typically respond to these situations with complete southern hospitality which includes sympathetic words along with a promise to pray for this dear soul. But out of my mouth came completely different words.
// Can I ask you a question? How often do you pray for yourself? //
This poor gal and the friend with me were both a bit surprised by the question – as was I! I’m still not sure where it came from, but I went with it and waited for a response. To this, she began listing reasons she didn’t have time to pray for herself.
I kindly responded that, although I would love to pray for her, the truth is, I probably won’t. I will have all good intentions but will most likely forget before I finish my scrambled eggs. Isn’t that how it is?
I then proceeded to encourage her with the truth that only the Lord knows the ins and outs of her ailments and her difficult situations. Finding the answers she was seeking would require her own commitment to help herself. To get alone with the Lord on a // consistent basis //, allowing Him to open her eyes and heart to the things in her life that He would like her to understand, deal with, work on, and experience in Him.
Her response was endearing. She wasn’t upset, but rather, enlightened. Instead of a quick remedy of // I’ll pray for you, // she had received a real dose of solid biblical advice.
As I thought through the conversation, I realized how guilty I am of welfare prayers and pleas. I utilize conversations with family, friends, and even strangers to expound upon my woes, sometimes in an effort to seek pity, other times out of desperation.
Regardless, I too, am guilty of not seeking the one who knows every hair on my head, every pain that has turned to bitterness, and every answer to my many questions of why. I, too, need to seek the Lord alone.