"Let's begin to thank God because we're alive. There are people in the mortuary. There are people who are on the sick bed, who'd like to be here, but they can't. Yet here we are. It's not because we are better than them. It's only by God's grace. Let's just bless His Holy Name..."
A friend brought this to my attention the other day. "Why?" she queried. "Why do we have to say thank you while comparing it to those suffering?"
And you know what? She has a point.
However, as with most things in this world, there are pros and there are cons.
Let's examine the cons, shall we?
We have an "I-better-pass-my-neighbor" mentality, and to be honest, it hasn't done much for us.
It's like: we would accept mediocrity, as long as we are better than somebody else.
The problem with this mentality is that we could never reach our full potential because we are looking backwards at what is behind, rather than forward to what we could be.
It's never fun being the butt of the joke:
And now, the pros...
Empathy is more than feeling bad for someone. It is to put yourself in the shoes of another, to "vicariously experienc[e] their feelings, thoughts, and experience" (5)
That's what this prayerpoint does.
It reminds the congregration that it could just have easily been them in the hospital.
This prayerpoint is not unlike the Syrian refugees YouTube ads, the feed-the-hungry-African, or the-sponsor-a-child prompts that permeate social media.
By shedding light on the less privileged, these ads remind you that these people are actual people. People with dreams, goals, loved ones, families.
These ads remind you that it could just as easily have been you.
By realizing that there are people who are worse off than you, it makes you grateful for what you have.
This, I think, is the main intent behind those who use this prayerpoint as a call-to-worship. We can get so caught up in wanting more, wanting to be like someone who we think is better than we are (that I-better-pass-my-neighbor mentality at work again).
And this prayerpoint is meant to settle us and make us grateful for what we have.
So...what now? Should we use the prayerpoint or not?
Jeez, y'all, calm down. I am getting there.
You would have to decide that yourself. All that matters to God is your heart.
If you're using the prayerpoint to make yourself feel important, or if using it makes you feel like a jerk, then don't use it.
If, however, using it makes you appreciate what you have and empathize with those who are less privileged, then knock yourself out, with a little caveat: take a minute to pray for those who are less-privileged.
Keep in mind that if God had His way,
"there [w]ould be no poor among you, for the Lord your God will greatly bless you in the land he is giving you as a special possession" (Deuteronomy 15:4).
But, alas, sin has stolen what is to be ours.
All posts by Ronke (unless otherwise indicated)