Pray With Me
While scrolling social media recently I was stopped by this status update:
Phrases I want to minimize in my life this year:
That’s the way we’ve always done it.
I can’t afford to do that.
I’m too busy.
I don’t know how.
And I’d like to add one more to that list:
Pray for me.
I’m extremely tired of this clichéd response that really means, “I don’t trust you with what’s really going on,” or, “I’m choosing not to be vulnerable,” or, “I can’t make time to tell you the whole story.” Those responses are all garbage and I’m ready for something different this year.
What would happen if instead of saying, “Pray for me” we asked, “pray with me?”
I asked a friend recently why she had hesitated to let me know when stuff hit the fan in her life. She explained that she had been sprawled on her floor sobbing, not knowing what to do and afraid to reach out to anyone. My heart broke as the tears poured from my eyes. My dear friend, who needed nothing more than someone to come and sit on her kitchen floor and hold her while she cried, instead sent a text in the morning that said, “Pray for me”.
And the truth is, I’ve been there and done the same thing. Most of us do want people to pray for us. But we don’t want to have to air our dirty laundry to get it.
Some of us need to stop reading right there, and let that truth sink in. Just because we have watched others foolishly air every bit of their personal struggles/loss/drama for the whole world to critique and comment on doesn’t mean we should give up vulnerability entirely. There are appropriate places for letting our guard down and choosing to let people into the messy parts of our lives. (For the record, the appropriate place is never on social media.)
How sad that we face these moments alone. When the business partner steals, when the job offer is rescinded, when a spouse walks out and our kid makes a poor decision, in these moments we need to pick up the phone, not just send an ambiguous group text. When gossip has ruined a reputation, a family member hurts us, the doctor calls back with a bad report, or when the dream job has turned into a nightmare, those are the texts that should read, “Come now,” or “I need you,” not “Pray for me”.
There are seasons when we can’t always drop everything and show up. But more often than not we don’t even get that opportunity because we are kept at an arm’s length. We choose to keep people there instead of allowing them the opportunity to meet us in the dark and scary places. And it is stupid. Because we are all asking the same questions:
When the bottom of life falls out, will you come and sit on the bathroom floor with me? Will you sleep on my couch, or take my kids for the night? Will you drive to the doctors and sit in the waiting room with me? Will you walk into church and sit with me after a loved one has passed? When I’ve fallen off the wagon, will you come clean me up? Will you be okay to sit in silence and listen without judgement? Will you be comfortable with hearing all the ugly, and be able to separate those feelings the next time you see my boss, my spouse, my kids, or another friend?
Will you just come be with me, in the mess? Without needing to provide solutions or force me to “see the brighter side” of the story, or give me any other cliché response.
We all want vulnerability. We all crave the friendships that are deep and long-lasting and part of that process is allowing others access to the messy parts – yes, that means someone has to see what you look like after an ugly-cry.
And when the tears dry up, and my splotchy-snot-covered face has emerged from the pillow (or your shoulder, sorry!) I need to know that you will take my hand and pray with me. Will you offer up bold prayers full of faith that can move mountains? Will you sit and listen as I utter quiet prayers of repentance and renewal? Will you remember with me the promises of God that are sprinkled throughout His word and help me to claim them as my own? Because that’s what I will need the most in those moments.Not a promise that you will pray. Not a smiley face or thumbs up emoji three hours later. I need to hear your voice, in my ear. Whether over the phone, or standing in front of me. I need your faith to be joined with mine. I need you to pray with me.