I’ve noticed a certain pattern my prayers will sometimes follow. There’s a shift that will often take place in mid-prayer. Let me explain. Someone will be on my heart and I begin praying for that someone. I begin praying for whatever I think their need might be. However, as I’m praying, my words are always interrupted with the same thought: “Who am I to be asking for this, Lord? I struggle with this too, Lord. I fall short all the time, Lord…maybe not this exact area…but you know I have my own areas of struggle.” And, all of a sudden, my them prayer has no other choice but to become an us prayer.
As I thought more about this shift from them to us, the Lord’s Prayer came to mind and then it made perfect sense to me. It’s how Jesus told his disciples they should pray. “Give us this day our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one.
The word us is mentioned four times in that short prayer. Lately, God seems to be teaching me how important this is to remember when I pray for others and the “issues” and needs I think they have It’s like the Lord is constantly reminding me that I have “issues” too. (Shocking, right!?) “Umm, hey, Eileen, don’t forget you tend to get logs and dirt in your own eyes…so maybe us is a better word choice.” It’s not all about them. It’s not all about you. (That’s why the Lord’s Prayer doesn’t say give me my daily bread). No…it’s us.”
Today, let us not forget this important truth as we pray for others. Each of us is on a journey and God is at work in each of our lives. What we think they desperately need…we desperately need too.