The Personally Important

Sometimes reading through the prayer requests we receive each day acts as a valuable corrective to all the storm and stress flooding the internet. While the headlines are worrying us with their concerns about nuclear war, corruption in high places and the terrible effects of abortion, slavery and gun/knife crime, most people are concerned with matters nearer home, what I call ‘the personally important’. That differs for each of us and varies according to circumstance. Sometimes it is difficult to articulate what is needed, or, for whatever reason, someone may feel hesitant or embarrassed about naming their fear or current preoccupation. As a result, they find it easier to pray for people or needs ‘out there’ than for themselves or the things that keep them awake at night or fill their days with anxiety.

I think myself that a reluctance to pray for oneself or the things that are personally important is a pity. We are the apple of God’s eye. There is nothing he would not do for us (which is not the same as always agreeing with us what is best for us). Learning to trust God with ourselves, so to say, is a necessary part of learning to trust God with the needs of the world. Perhaps the problem is that we have a false idea of prayer and it gets in the way of our actually praying. Prayer is really very simple, it is we who make it complicated. We have only to turn our gaze towards God, trusting that he will see and understand.

Today could we each spend a few minutes asking the Holy Spirit to pour the gift of prayer into our hearts, to take away all barriers and teach us how to be simple and natural in God’s presence? No matter how old we are, no matter how long we have been praying, those first steps remain as vital as ever, in every sense of the word.

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7 thoughts on “The Personally Important

  1. I think that there is wisdom and truth in your words.

    People do struggle to pray for themselves or their needs or aspirations, It’s easier to pray for others, which is worthy, but sometimes we need to raise our needs to God, even in silence, as you describe, gazing towards him, and allowing him int0 our hearts and minds.
    As we pray for you, knowing that you pray for us, perhaps we can join our prayers to yours to pray for each other.

  2. Thank you , we are often preoccupied with praying for others ,that we do forget ourselves and therefore miss the closeness of the deeply personal daily connection with our Heavenly Father .
    I remember discussing God’s love with a young woman , who easily and quickly grasped the fact that God loves her which perhaps some of us through experiences with a not so loving human father find more difficult . Having grasped this she found turning her gaze, asking for herself , not materially but in order to serve, easy because she trusted her loving father to guide and take care of her .
    She said that our problem is that we only accept the love we think we deserve , which inhibits our personal prayers , I found this a profound thought from a young woman new in faith . We remain teachable and I thank you for your timely words this morning

  3. Interesting thoughts, sister.
    For some years I have tried not to pray for myself on the basis that God knows what I want and need and that my non prayer thoughts are probably normally about what I think I want and need.
    So, prayer is a time for me to concentrate on the needs of others.

    • The Catholic tradition is very much that we are all sinners in need of grace and forgiveness. I would never neglect to pray for myself in those terms, nor for the grace of being open to the Holy Spirit, so that all my ideas about what is right for me are subject to God’s judgement. Mkae sense?

  4. It does make sense but surely a loving Father gives us these things without needing constant requests.
    I think I will ask those whose opinion I value in these things for their views.
    Thanks again Sister for giving me something to think about.
    I hope that you are feeling as well as can be expected.

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