I think back upon my prayers during this last trial. My prayers usually end up sounding something like this, "God, can you help me? Can you save me from here? Can you help me through this day? Can you do this for me? Can you do that for me too? I know I messed up on this, can you fix it for me?" Granted not all of these prayers are bad, but I found that the more I prayed about myself, the more self-centered I became. I forgot about how much I had, how much God has blessed me with, and even my dear friends who are going through tough situations of their own.
Usually my commute to work is one of the times when I do the most thinking and praying. I remember driving to work one day recently, I was running late for work. The second I left my garage, I prayed, "God, can you give me favor with the stoplights?" As I continued driving, I hit every...single....red light. I remember asking God, "Why are you not helping me? Why am I hitting all the red lights when I prayed that I wouldn't?" That's when it hit me, as I sensed the sourness of my motives seep out of that last sentence...knowing God had become a "what can you do for ME" relationship, verses knowing God and loving Him for who He is. I was thinking about all the prayers I had prayed recently and every single one was about me, and how God could help me. Me, me, me.
Guilt immediately washed over me upon realization of this revelation. I apologized to God for demeaning Him. I started trying to thank Him for what He had done for me already that day, even at 6:45AM. For one, I have a job!, I have a car, breath to breath, I got out of bed, I have a bed! All these amazing things we so easily take for granted. Then I started praying for my friends and family. It's amazing how much better I felt, and before I knew it, I was at work!
I think it's important to have prayers designated to ourselves, but it's also equally important to pray for others. It's then that we receive compassion for those that are around us. God is well, God. He is King of Kings, He rules this world, He died to save me, He loves me more than I could ever imagine and yet somehow my motives got so misconstrued into thinking that God is there to serve me, and to perform miracles for me. When in reality, I am put on Earth to serve Him, and to be His servant. It only takes a few steps in the wrong direction to feed wrong motives, and that's precisely what happened. How great God is for giving me that gentle reminder when my motives are not in check. It takes a true friend to be honest to someone, and God is always someone I can count on for honesty.