I was taking communion at church recently, and as usual, I bowed my head to pray.
I began as I normally do. Lately, almost every prayer I pray is directed to our daughter's medical situation. It has been so taxing on us all, that I never waste an opportunity of prayer get away without asking God to cure her of her T1D.
Most impromptu prayers I have are usually spurred by someone's need, usually not my own. I bet this is pretty common among Christians. We're good people, right? We need to use our focus to turn it outward.
We need to give up our prayers on behalf of others because we're already okay, you know. We're doing fine. We might have a desire, or maybe even a need, but we should really be interceding for those less fortunate than ourselves. Since after all, we're okay.
During that communion time, my mind was redirected quickly. I don't have to give up praying for my daughter, but now was not the time for that. Now was the time to look at myself.
It has to be done.
Not looking at what I want or need. I'm not an infant; I can move past looking at getting myself taken care of. What I needed to look at was who I am. I had to look down deep into my heart and find my sins. I had to see why I am not that "higher than thou" person who can call on God to care for those less blessed than me.
Looking around at others so much has made me forget that maybe I am a fallible person myself. Other people have needs, but I do too - a primary need to be forgiven.
During communion, I need to look at myself and see what I have done. There is a reason I need a Savior to bring me into the presence of the Father, and during communion, I see those reasons individually. If I don't see the reasons for my need of a Savior, then what is the point of having a Savior?
The more I go without looking at myself, the more I see the faults of others. I would venture to say that when you come across a particularly judgmental person, you have probably found a person who has not been looking at his own faults too closely. When the Holy Spirit shows me my sins, I know I am often humble enough overlook the sins of others. Pulling this plank out of my own eye takes up a lot of my focus.
So, the idea of putting others first, of always thinking of your brother before yourself is great for about 90% of the time (give or take whatever God tells YOU it should be). Where two or three are gathered, there Christ is in the midst. You NEED to pray for others. You NEED to turn your focus outward.
But I don't think that can happen with a true heart until you have had the chance to clean out your own heart. If you are praying for someone because you believe another person needs your holy prayers, it's time to look in the mirror again. If you feel badly for that person because their sins are so much greater than yours, stop and look again.
Possibly you are just ignoring yourself, and you feel this is an act of humility. Well, how can you have a relationship with God and converse with Him without being there yourself? You are a part of the "God and me" didactic, so you must work on that fellowship before asking Him to help with another one.
There are times when fellowship is a "more the merrier" situation. But just like in a marriage, if you don't commit some time to the one-on-one aspect of the relationship, you won't be able to know the other person well at all.
So, to get to know God better, you need to be able to see yourself first. Because I guarantee when you look at yourself and see your faults, you most certainly will see God's lack of faults and His awesomeness. And that is the bottom line - why we were created - to see His greatness and give Him glory.
I'm glad we have communion once a month. I should really be thinking about this more often, but communion is a great reminder that I need to look at me to see how my salvation had nothing to do with me, but all about Him.
Passion Under Grace,