This thing happened recently. I was looking for prayers to say for some of those I love. Issues they might be dealing with, heading things off at the pass, life circumstances which simply happen. I wanted to cover them in prayer and sometimes the prayers others write speak straight to my heart. It sounds SO good, right? But suddenly, in reading one of the many prayers I found I realized that my heart had become like the Pharisee who thought he was better than the tax collector at the back of the temple.
I have a prayer journal that I began after I saw the movie "War Room." It actually started as post-it notes on the wall, but the room needed to be used for another purpose, and so I moved all the notes into a notebook. It was the best thing I ever did. I write the prayer requests on the notes, and then when they are answered I move them to the back of the book. It really fits me.
Since I use the post-it notes in the notebook the pages themselves aren't used that much. After reading a prayer against negativity I realized I wanted to keep it so I could read it again and again. I divided the notebook in half and began writing them in the back half before the answered prayers, and used little tabs so that I can find the prayer I need quicker.
This is when things went a little awry. I started looking for prayers for those I love, as I mentioned. It still sounds like such an innocent thing. Good even. But my heart had gotten skewed. I'm grateful as I read through more and more prayers, writing some down in my book, looking for some I have't found yet, it struck me what God was showing me.
I thought I didn't need the prayers, but I did. I needed the exact same prayers I wanted to say for those I love. I'm not in any situation to help them, and I was actually trying to find some prayers that were almost manipulative in the wording I was looking for. Thankfully I didn't find those.
I'm still spending time praying for others, and I'm still writing prayers in my notebook, but now I start with me. Nehemiah taught me this, but apparently I needed God to teach me personally.