Embody the spirit of God in your prayers by withholding judgment and offering mercy.
Posted in , Jun 30, 2016
The Gospel compels us to carry out what many consider to be Jesus’ impractical principles: Love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us, forgive others as God forgives us, do not judge, love your neighbor as yourself and so forth. These Christian principles provide a road map for how we ought to live, love and pray for others.
By reading the Gospel stories, we discover a compassionate Jesus who took great interest and concern in the needs of others. He extended justice, kindness and love to all He encountered. He reached out to the despised tax collectors, healed lepers, forgave a woman caught in adultery and healed the servant of the Roman Centurion—extending His mercy to Gentiles as well. He repeatedly demonstrated His compassion to all.
How do these acts teach us to pray compassionately for others? They remind us that people and their needs matter to God. It means that we, too, need to embody that spirit in our prayers.
When we pray with compassion for others, we seek to feel their pain…understand their struggles…place ourselves in their shoes. We empathize with those whom we lift up to God, connecting ourselves with them. They are part of us, and we are part of them.
When praying for others, I like to learn as much about what they are going through as possible. This allows me to put myself in their situation. When this isn’t possible, I spend time reflecting on how they may feel, or I recall my own moment of need. Praying with compassion requires us to remove judgment and be merciful.
Let us remember that we pray to a compassionate God whose heart is open to our very own needs, a God who weeps with us and is merciful when our actions miss the mark. This same God who hears our prayers also hears the pleas of others.
What has helped you to pray for others with compassion? Please share.
Lord, teach me to be compassionate in all my ways; help me to pray for others with empathy knowing that You care for all Your children.