I am part of a FaceBook group that is specifically for people to request, and respond to, prayers for those in their lives - whether personally, in business, or whatever their needs may be. I also am learning to make the knots that are used in our Orthodox (Christian) prayer ropes, and I often wear one on my wrist to fiddle with; when I fiddle with the prayer bracelet, I am reminded to pray for those around me and in my life.
What do I pray for? Personal needs, health needs, business needs, family needs... whatever comes to mind for a person. And here's the big thing, I cannot complain about anything in my life. My life is not perfect, but it is relatively hassle-free.
My biggest issues revolve around whether or not my daughter has cut some other kids' hair, a son has torn something up, who has/n't washed their hands after going to the bathroom and before coming to the dinner table! But I am like anyone else, and sometimes that half-full glass starts to look a tad lower, and I find I need to remove myself from my own problems and issues and use that moment to pray for others.
The more I pray for others, the more I hope and feel I am doing good in the world, and the more I am boosted, so that the comparatively minor issues I am facing become increasingly un-important. But sometimes... sometimes... it seems like I am here to add, and add, and add and add names - family names and individual names - for various things.
The list just. keeps. getting. longer.
That is hard. It is hard to hear about my friends suffering, family going through trials, etc. and know that I am not suffering equally in that. And tonight, as I added the second and third names to my list for the day, it occurred to me that maybe some of us are here to serve by our prayers and uplifting support for those who are in need; and some are here facing the trials. That stinks to say. I don't want my friends and family to suffer.
I am happy to pray for them when things are going well,
why can't I pray for them in those moments?
And perhaps... it is my role to life them up where I can. Not that I am saying my prayers are so pious. But I am given a life of comfort; a life of relative ease, outside of the pain of watching others suffer and helping where I am able. We have our illnesses and financial struggles and sometimes-fights in our house, but overall we are blessed. So perhaps my job is to focus on others. On their needs. To nurture, support, uplift and exhaust myself in the giving of voice in prayer to them.
And in the end: Isn't this what each of us is here for?
In this 2013 Christmas season: let us exhaust ourselves in the selfless giving of prayer - or the prayerful giving of self - however you like to say it. Let's give appeal for those in our lives who need spiritual uplifting and support; let us love one another, and care so much, that our own seeming-problems are forgotten for a time as we pray for the needs, wants and ideas of those in our lives. And if you can't think of anything else to pray for on their behalf - Praise for their situation likewise.