Praying Too Much?


Is there such a thing as too much prayer?  I suppose there could be...If there is such a thing I am NOT guilty of it.  

What I am aware of is that my prayer list is growing.  There are more people that I need to pray for:  my parents who have some mobility issues which the winter weather does NOT make easier, my father-in-law who underwent emergency surgery last week,  and my mother-in-law who is going to have to take care of him when he is released from the hospital.  Then there are people who are in my prayers and are staying there:  my friend/coworker who has been suffering from Covid-19 for nearly a month, my friend who has been battling cancer for more years that I can (to my shame) remember and is about to go through another round to treatment, and another friend who is battling cancer and whose husband can't help her out as he has in the past since he's just undergone cardiac surgery.  That's just those that come immediately to mind; there are other friends and relations who are ill, caring for those who are ill or who are struggling as this pandemic rages on and on.

Then there are the people I don't know.  The people of the southern states who have been hit hard by this crazy winter weather.  Those who are suffering from illness. People who are isolated due the pandemic.  Children who go hungry.  Those who are unjustly imprisoned (and I'm not only talking about foreign countries).  Those who are simply (?) worn down and worn out.

That's a lot to pray for.  It's pretty overwhelming when I think about it.  There are so many people who need help.  I am but one person and I myself can get pretty worn down.  (I'm feeling pretty worn down just writing all of this.)

Then this hymn popped into my brain:

"There is a balm in Gilead

To make the wounded whole;

There is a balm in Gilead

To heal the sin-sick soul.

Some times I feel discouraged,

And think my work’s in vain,

But then the Holy Spirit

Revives my soul again.

There is a balm in Gilead

To make the wounded whole;

There is a balm in Gilead

To heal the sin-sick soul.

If you cannot sing like angels,

If you can’t preach like Paul,

You can tell the love of Jesus,

And say He died for all."

(I'd argue that the last two lines could also say: You can tell the love of mankind, because we can care for all.)

It reminds me of two very important things (one of which is not even implied in the hymn):

  • I am not alone.  We all feel discouraged and worn down.   When that comes upon us we need to find our very own balm.  We need to find whatever it is to revive ourselves; to heal ourselves.  Maybe that means reaching out to a friends.  Maybe it means taking a walk.  Maybe it means taking a long hot bath with a glass of wine.  It doesn't matter what it is.  What matters is the knowledge that we all get worn and we all need to refresh in whatever way works best for us.
  • We all have of our own unique gifts.  You can (should?) use your talents to help the world.  You can sing, you can speak, you can do whatever it is YOU do best.  You can organize.  You can collect.  You can comfort.  You can care.
We can pray or meditate or send our positive intentions out into the world in whatever way best fits us.  I know cannot feed the world, but I can make the world a little less hungry by contributing to my local food pantry.  I know my prayer cannot change the world, but it can change MY world.  I can BE positive and thankful, or I can grumble.  It is up to me.  It is up to each of us.

I have the choice to pray.  I have the option to act upon my prayers as only I can.  So do you.  You have the choice:  why not be the balm?


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