Sometimes I get emails from people who are anticipating a bad result of a biopsy, or have put themselves into a terrible state of fretfulness and worry for some other reason, and they ask me to pray for them. And I do, because I am always happy to pray for someone; it is my privilege.She goes on to say:
But sometimes I’ll also give them a little job to do in exchange: I’ll ask them, in all their anxiety, to pray for someone else who desperately needs prayers.
I’ll give them a very specific case to pray for, usually by name: a little girl with leukemia, a soldier who is gravely wounded, a family facing joblessness. I tell them that praying for others will help them to use up the anxious energy, and regain some perspective, and that’s true, but I also ask them to do it because I know the prayers they say for others will help them in their own lives.
Invariably, every single time I have asked worried people to pray for someone else, they have written back to say that the utterly selfless act of praying for a stranger’s concerns had lightened their own burden and brought peace to their souls and a broader, more positive perspective to their outlook.
But since I heard it first from Mother - who was very generous, some would say foolishly so - I’ll credit her. “God is never outdone in generosity,” she would say, “so when you’re down on your luck, don’t worry about giving to others who are also struggling, and don’t even think twice about it.”