Why, I wonder, do I find it so difficult not only to ask for prayers for myself, but even to pray for myself? I began yesterday's prayer journal entry by exclaiming, "How humbling it is for me to know others are praying for me!"
After several weeks of a lingering, albeit minor, illness, I have begun hearing the prayers of friends and family on behalf of my own health. The first time it happened I had to swallow the urge to shout, "You don't need to pray for me! My sickness is trivial compared to that of so many others around us!" And I truly still feel that way, when I look around me at the list of friends and neighbors battling various cancers, chronic illness, pain or other deadly disease. Oh, I have asked for prayer plenty of times, but it was usually for someone else's benefit: a sick or hurting friend, a loved one in a difficult or life-changing situation, an important decision. When I have asked for prayer for myself, or even prayed for myself, it was for wisdom in helping someone along in their faith journey.
I also began wondering, though, if my reaction was an indication of some sort of pride. Do I think I'm too good or too perfect or too capable to need prayer? I certainly hope not, and yet the word that best expresses how I feel when I hear someone pray for me is "humbled." Does it not follow, then, that I must have felt some sort of pride before knowing I was being lifted up in prayer?
In the Old Testament book of Daniel, King Nebuchadnezzar ruled over a flourishing Babylon. He was understandably proud of his accomplishments. When he began having disturbing dreams, his Hebrew servant Daniel was able to interpret them, and they were a clear warning and condemnation of the king's wickedness and oppression of the poor. When Daniel's predictions came true, Nebuchadnezzar was wise enough to "praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything He does is right and all His ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble." (Daniel 4: 37 NIV). Of course, if "Neb" had known the Hebrew scriptures, he should have remembered Proverbs 16:18: "Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall."
Well, I hope my pride does not equal Nebuchadnezzar's, and I know my accomplishments are nowhere near his, BUT I pray that if this season has been a lesson in humility, I have learned it well. I find it interesting that in the midst of this examination of pride, I was directed by a Facebook friend to watch the attached video of Scott Hamilton on the site "I Am Second." Though it takes about ten minutes, I hope if you are struggling with some form of pride, you will take the time to watch it. It is quite a picture of humility!
"May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world." (Galatians 6:14 NIV)