“It’s me, it’s me, it’s me, oh Lord, standing in the need of prayer. It’s me, it’s me, it’s me, oh Lord, standing in the need of prayer.
Not my brother nor my sister but it’s me, oh lord, standing in the need of prayer. Not my brother nor my sister but it’s me, oh lord, standing in the need of prayer.
Not the elder nor the deacon but it’s me, oh lord, standing in the need of prayer.
Not my father nor my mother, but it’s me oh lord, standing in the need of prayer.
Not the stranger, nor my neighbor but it’s me oh lord, standing in the need of prayer.
Standing in the need of prayer.”
This song used to strike me as selfish. Come on, none of the rest of these people need prayer? Get over yourself.
But since reading Toni Morrison’s “Strangers.” I see this song, particularly the last verse, differently.
Morrison thinks that we find in strangers a part of ourselves. That we wich to merge with them, to draw them into ourselves and so regain whatever we’ve lost. In my previous post I talked about that feeling at length.
Now I just want to look at this song, and what its words mean if you see it all as the person singing saying “When all these people are in need of prayer, I am too. Because we’re all part of the same body.”
When we pray for humanity, are we really praying for ourselves? Not for our petty problems (or sometimes serious problems) but for what we hope to have in our own suffering.
I think we may have genuinely selflessreasons to pray. But Jesus specifically told us to look on others as worthy of the same love we would show ourselves. Even when they weren’t deserving of it.
I’m not inot all this “we’re all one, in each other,” wierdness. Not ot the extent it’s taken to, tat we literally are inside each other and acting dependently. We may be depednent, but it’s not in the way that implies.
No, our hearts and minds are our own to guard and keep, and no one else can do it for us completely. Even God Himself leaves a lot of it up to us to choose. That’s the price of being free.
But we are connected in a way. We all suffer, we all have joys, we all share the human experience. And that’s not something to take lightly.
So when someone is suffering in the body, as Paul says, all the rest suffer with it.
The usffering of christians in the middle east is my suffering also. I don’t die, I don’t feel ohysical pain, but deep down the knowledge that they suffer affects me. I may not think it does, bu it does.
Becauase we share the same faith, we’re connected.
My faith connects me more to other christians, but my hunaity connects me toe veryone else.
That’s why I can feel pity for someone like Hitler or Stallin, I know what it is to be human and to fall. And I know what it is to rise up. I wish they could ahve.
My shared experience is all that enables me to pity them and motivates me to help others.
I note that shared experience can pass between humans and animals also, and even, some might say, being humans and other spiritual beings. There’s an ungodly trend going around of pitying the devil in shows and movies and books (Paradise Lost might be the most famous example of this) and while I don’t see why it’s popular, especially if you don’t believe in the devil anyway, it’s only possible because we have spirits, otherwise how could we understand them at all?
Of course that will be denied, but this post isn’t about that so I’m not going into it.
The point is, when you’re in the need of prayer, or of love, or of anything really, you will know better how much other people are in need of it. When you need help, someone else does.
I’ve seen this in my own life, my own suffering has been frustrating to me, but looking around I see how other’s share similar physical and emotional pain to me, and maybe when I pray for myself, I need to pray for them too.
We’re all standing in the need of prayer.
Christian or no, I hope this post was enjoyable to you. I seem to be on a grave bent tonight, but it’s where my mind was.
Until next time–Natasha.