Reading assignment: Job 41-42,
Our class on Tuesday night was "very interesting." So much so, all of you, in the words of Stevie Wonder, "creeped into my mind." Maybe I should repeat Jackie's words, "get out of my head."
I am talking about the comment when I said that there are times when we may have to say, "No, I will not pray for you." Or perhaps we say, "No, I will not pray that prayer." Yes, these are some harsh words. However, it's important to remember that we are talking about when to pray and, more importantly, "what," should we pray. Discernment is hard work which means "No," maybe the best response to someone's issue. For example, if someone asked me to pray that their husband returns to help the family after he abused his wife and children, I would have to say, "No," to that prayer. I shared that in discernment, you must gather information. Knowing that this is an abusive situation, I must discern, should I pray for her husband to return or her mental state. After all, God wants the family to stay together, "Right?"
Here is the issue in prayer, when praying, we must agree. Jesus said, "I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them" (Mt. 18:19-20). And the prophet Amos asked, "Do two journey together unless they have agreed?" (Am. 3:3)
Therefore, when anyone asks us to pray for them, we need to consider that person's emotional and spiritual state. We should avoid saying; I will pray for you before gathering information. It would be best if you did the work of discernment. Many of you "discerned," that praying for Job's happiness was not the "right," prayer a few weeks ago. You discerned based on the information you read; Job needed something more than just happiness. If someone asks you to pray, gather the data, test the spirit and see if the true and living God is present. Would you agree to pray for a person's safety to rob the bank to pay for his mortgage? Even God will say "No," to our prayers.
Discussion question: Tuesday night, I listed six limits in confirmation. Remember this quote, "If you are not in touch with yourself, if you don't know what is going on, you cannot hear the "other," even when the "Other is God." Earnest Larkin
I am looking for one more limit in confirmation. What else can cloud our spirit when trying to discern our spiritual walk or our friend? What hinders our spiritual liberty to act maturely as Christians.
1. We are not perfect.
2. Pressure and stress are real.
3. You have no control over what the other will do.
4. Time (Seasons)
5. You can't solve everyone's problems.
6. Admitting that you may be the problem.
Thank you for all your comments and the great class! I pray that all the participants will be able to compensate you in some way for your absolutely beautiful work!
Always remember: Self care is important before you begin to help someone else.
Remember: Family first, Job second & the Church third! We must learn to prioritize.
We must take care of our own spiritual, mental & physical health, first. If we don't, we won't be able to help others who are seeking help.
I think #7 might be having a willingness to step out of your comfort zone. Being uncomfortable doing something is not necessarily the same as being unqualified. Doing something uncomfortable might not be something to be avoided but might help in your own spiritual growth as well as fulfilling your purpose. It might require a creative approach
I am convinced that often our ego hinders us in effectively being of service and helping or praying for another. It can be quite challenging to stay authentic when we loose our humility and feel important in this profound activity, especially, if we can do it so well!
So, #7 could be to take deep breaths, step into your inner being and demand that only the Holy Spirit speak through you. And even insist that we become open and receptive to receive only what Spirit knows is in our best interest.
The item I would add for number 7 is don't be afraid or ashamed to ask for help. Sometimes in life we want to give the image that we have it all together. In not wanting to appear weak, we may miss a chance to truly connect with another by letting down our guard.
The #7 I would add is this: We need to be able to prioritize in life. This takes discernment and an understanding of our own needs along with the needs of others.
Another thought I had following our discussion is that another word for limitations is boundaries. Setting boundaries in our relationships and interactions with others is good self-care.