Thursday, December 1, 2016

Asking for Prayer is not the Same as Whining

by Danetta Kellar

I guess I am writing today’s article to myself. 

For years, I have been a praying, interceding friend to others. 

I believe deeply and profoundly in the power of prayer. I have seen its transforming strength turn the tide in what appeared to be certain destruction and despair. I have watched its tendrils of hope climb to heaven and bear the fruit of joy and peace. I have heard the thunderous crashing of walls as they have plummeted to the ground under the force of the prayers of warring saints. I have felt the hair on my neck stand up straight as the enemy fled at the name of Jesus Christ. I believe in prayer.

But beneath it all, in the secret small room of my heart where I listen to the whispers of Condemnation, there has always been a voice telling me that when I need prayer, to ask is to complain. To whine. To show weakness and neediness. 

And with a past like mine, that is the last thing I want to show to the world. I  have spent decades overcoming victim status, the label that my childhood would have tattooed upon me like a holocaust branding number. So let others see me as needy now? Repulsive.

Life this year has put me in a place of great need. An unexpected diagnosis in late winter triggered fear and disclosed my vulnerability and transience. The illness and death of a parent immobilized me and laid bare my insecurity while engulfing me in grief and loss. The pending certainty of life-changing heart surgery for my firstborn disclosed how little control I really have to make everything okay. A broken foot literally and figuratively stopped my racing, speeding pace and made me sit down and take measure of my need. My need for others and the prayers they would so graciously offer for me.

I have been surrounded by a multitude, a battalion, of faithful friends these difficult months. I long ago lost the ability to keep up with the number of those praying, encouraging, serving in a thousand small and large ways. I lack the capacity to work for their love, to thank them adequately, to pay them back in some way so I might deserve or at least have earned their intercession and help. That has been my pattern in life, until now. Work and earn help from others. Nothing is free. 

But in this season of my life, the help and prayer has simply come, like the driving rain that makes life spring up in the hard-caked earth of the African savanna during monsoon season. And I will never, ever, be the same again.

In that small room in my heart, the one where I sometimes entertain lies, Light has come. Its brightness has unveiled truth. 

To need prayer, to ask for prayer, to be in need, is not whining. It is not complaining. It is to be human and to be vulnerable. 

To be part of something much greater than just me, an independent, individual overcomer. For what do we overcome but to come alongside others and help them do the same? We are made for relationship, community, mutuality.

When we express our needs and walk transparently before others, we remind them and ourselves that we are indeed not invincible on our own. 

We are so much more together than we are alone.

The voice in that small room in my heart was perhaps not condemnation after all. I think in the light I can see that its true name is Pride. Pride that would pray for others, come alongside them and battle to see them freed, yet not allow others to see the same need for freedom in me. 

I am cleaning out this little room of lies today. In the place of pride, let humility counsel me. Instead of condemnation, let freedom sing over me as I rest in the liberty of honesty before others. In the place of independence, may interdependence build a new strength in me to help and be helped. No more one-sided, prideful, give-but-don’t-receive living.

Do you feel like a whiner when you need prayer? Does it keep you from asking?

Take the plunge today and ask for what you need. 


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