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When It’s Hard to Ask for Prayers

Sometimes prayers need to be kept private, just between God and me. Others deserve to be shared.

I keep thinking about Mom’s initial reluctance to put Dad’s name on the prayer list at church. Dad was in the hospital, in a lot of pain and when asked Mom said, “You don’t need to put him on the prayer list.”

It’s not that she didn’t think he could have used the prayers or that she didn’t trust the power of prayer. Maybe it’s because she didn’t want people to worry. Maybe she didn’t want to be a bother. Maybe she didn’t want to acknowledge her needs.

I know the feeling. I remember when my name was on the prayer list at our church when I had heart surgery and as soon as I could, a month after the operation, I announced I was okay and told everybody they didn’t have to pray for me. “I’m fine,” I insisted. But there were several more months of recovery, of achiness, of bad sleep, of weariness, when I could have used more prayers.

What is it about this hesitancy to ask for help? Is it misplaced pride or a wish for privacy. I can’t say for my mom, but in me it’s a fear that I’ll become tiresome, always talking about my needs. I look around and see how many others seem to have greater needs. But how can I get help if I don’t ask?

So here’s an announcement. I’m going to dispense with this reluctance. Sometimes prayers need to be kept private, just between God and me. Others deserve to be shared. A spiritual community wants to know, wants to help. And dare I say, God does too?      

“I put Dad’s name back on the prayer list,” my sister said.  She and my brother-in-law go to the same church. 

“That’s okay,” Mom said. People could know, people do know. They’re glad to be part of what’s happening to us because it’s happening to them.   

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