I lay awake in the middle of the night, worrying. The next morning, my troubles were still at the forefront of my mind.
God promises if we pray when we’re anxious then we will experience peace. So I was eager to begin my usual morning routine and get to the track for exercise and prayer.
I leapt out of bed, pulled on my T-shirt and shorts, gulped down a mug of tea, and tied the laces of my sneakers. Just before I walked out the door, I decided to check my email. A message caught my eye. The subject read: PRAYER.
While I’d tossed and turned in the darkness, a friend in England tapped heart-rending words into her computer. As a little girl, my friend’s father walked out on his family. This was the last time she had seen or spoken to him. Now, thirty years later, he had gotten in touch. With one week to live, he asked to see his daughter before he died.
My problems paled in the light of my friend’s distress. Please pray for me, she pleaded. I knew I should bring her troubles and not my own before God that morning.
Praying for others is how we share their burdens and put into practice Jesus’ teaching: to love your neighbor as you love yourself.
Jesus also modeled burden-sharing for us. He stood by the woman accused of adultery instead of saying she deserved punishment. Jesus let the sinful woman cry on his feet without being disgusted by her immorality. He defended her actions while others chose to criticize. Jesus bore the crushing weight of our wrongdoing so we can be free from sin.
Listen to a grieving friend, no matter how busy your day. Share her troubles. Hug a family member instead of saying “I told you so.” Show them love. Invite a newly divorced friend for the holidays and model Jesus’ ways. What priorities do you need to change today to help carry someone’s load?
(Photo courtesy of office.microsoft.com.)
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