Getting Out of My Own Head
You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many. 2 Corinthians 1:11
Several weeks ago, my son and I were driving when two cars collided at an intersection right in front of us. Occurring at highway speeds, it appeared there was potential for significant injuries. Immediately, everyone passing by pulled over and jumped into action. Some directed traffic. Someone else called 911. I went along with several others to check on the two people involved in the accident.
Those of us who stopped were all strangers and had little in common. If we’d have been talking politics or Covid-19, we likely wouldn’t have seen eye to eye. In that moment though, we were all united in purpose, focused on the wellbeing of those involved in the crash. We didn’t stop to ask about church or political affiliation. Presented with those in desperate need, we immediately came together for a brief, but common purpose.
We’re rarely so selfless. Most of us in fact, are terminally self-focused. Even as Christians, it’s natural to think most often about ourselves. Our prayer life likely reflects this. If we pray, it’s usually to ask God to change the world in some way so that our needs and wants are met. God, fix this for me.
In today’s passage though, Paul insisted that we must pray for the needs of those around us. Paul believed that prayer changes things and that he benefitted from the prayers of others. Prayer isn’t just about us and our world, it’s about asking God to work out his will in the lives our friends and families.
Something radical happens in my brain when I stop praying only for myself and begin praying for those around me. As I turn my mind to the needs of others, I get out of my own head, abandoning my self-obsession. Just like in that car accident moment, in concerning myself with the needs of others, I forget myself. Often, when I’m trapped in my own anxieties and worries, this is exactly what I need – to turn my mind from myself to those around me.
As Christians, we believe that prayer changes things. When we pray for others though, it also changes us. Daily then we must take time to pray for God’s will in the lives of those whom we know to be struggling. In doing so, we get out of our own heads and turn from our self-obsession while doing something wonderful for those around us.