July 18, 2008
I Hate to Burden You
“Never stop praying, especially for others. Always pray by the power of the Spirit. Stay alert and keep praying for God's people.” Ephesians 6:18 (CEV)
Although my email was intended to be a prayer request, it started out more like an apology. I needed my friends to pray, but I was hesitant to ask them. I didn't want my request to be a burden. After all, the group of friends I was sending the email to already had so many burdens of their own: illness, job loss, death, stress, relationship strains, overloaded schedules, etc.
I wondered if my need rated high enough on the urgency “Richter” scale? Was it bad enough to ask for prayer or should I wait to see how things turned out?
The first sentence in my email went something like this: "I hate to add to your list of burdens, but I need prayer for JJ."
My husband had signs of a health problem and was having tests done that week. I didn’t know whether it was going to be anything serious in the end. I just knew that I didn’t want to walk through it in fear, in denial, nor in my own strength. I didn’t want to go through it alone either. I wanted my man to have as much spiritual protection as possible. I wanted those doctors to be anointed in prayer, and I knew if my girlfriends were praying, it’d be all right!
Within fifteen minutes after I hit “send” my friends who were on their computers started telling me they were praying. Not only did they pray, they thanked me for sharing what was going on and for letting them be there for me. One friend shared how someone she knew had been through a similar situation. Another asked questions and made some great suggestions. Then another cracked a funny joke that made me laugh, which I really needed to do!
The night before we went to the hospital, I got an email from my friend Amy saying, "I've been lifting prayers heavenward for your family since your last email. Know that you'll be in my thoughts and prayers tomorrow. Let us know as soon as you hear results. We're all in this with you, friend."
As I read her last sentence, it was as though I could feel the softness of her hands gently squeeze my shoulders and hear her voice saying, "We're all in this with you, friend."
What if I had not shared our need with my friends? I would’ve missed out on the comfort of having them “with me” and the peace that came as a result of their prayers.
They would’ve missed out on the opportunity to be the “Body of Christ” by guarding our hearts and minds with God’s promises and the power of prayer. They also would have missed the joy of celebrating medical tests that went really well, peace that surpassed our understanding and recovery that was quick. Even as we wait for the test results, their prayers and God’s peace remain as our constant companions.
I am so glad I didn’t listen to those thoughts that made me feel like my request was a burden.
God is teaching me much about prayer. For someone who hates to impose on others, I need to be reminded that asking for prayer isn't about putting burdens on my friends. It's about letting them walk by my side down a path that I was never intended to walk alone. In return, they let me do the same.
Lord, thank You for never seeing my prayers as a burden. Please teach me more about the power and the purpose of prayer in my life and in my friendships. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Visit Renee Swope’s blog for the rest of the story, and for more ways to connect with God and your girlfriends through prayer.
A Busy Woman’s Guide to Prayer, by Cheri Fuller
Intimacy with God: Your Daily Guide to Prayer by Tara Furman
Ask God what friend He wants you to pray for this week, and who He wants you to ask to pray for you as well. If you don’t have someone (or if you want to have more than one), visit Renee’s blog where she’s connecting women through prayer – sharing requests and praying for each other - for the next few weeks.
Is it hard for you to share prayer requests with others? Why or why not?
Psalm 68:19, “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.” (NIV)
Philemon 1:4, “I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, because I hear about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints.” (NIV)
Colossians 4:2, “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” (NIV)
© 2008 by Renee Swope. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Friday, 18 July 2008.