I have been greatly blessed by the ministry of Paul Tripp over the years. His faithfulness in preaching and writing has helped thousands all over the globe, including me.
One of the themes of his ministry is connecting the transforming power of Jesus Christ to everyday life. He also seems to help people find their own need for Jesus Christ rather than focussing on the way in which other people need to change.
An article he wrote called “In need of prayer“, includes the following:
“Lord, I‘m a person in desperate need of help today.”
“Lord, won’t you, in your grace, send your helpers my way?”
“Lord, please give me the humility to receive the help when it comes.”
Which leads to me to my reflection for today …
Have you ever experience ‘pity prayers’? And what do you do when you receive them, either actual pity prayers, or other people’s prayers that feel like pity.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love people praying for me. As the prayer above suggests, I am a person in desperate need of it. Of prayer, and help, and helpers. And I am sadly quite often not humble enough to receive it.
But I have also experienced pity. I have felt it, and experienced it. Pity is different from compassion, or empathy or genuine prayer. It is often accompanied by judgment or self-righteousness, in that another person is praying for you and your situation, but doing so from an elevated position.
“How did you ever get yourself in this mess?”
“I am so glad I am not like this desperate sinner in need of grace”
“I will pray for you to sort out your own situation”
This could be similar to the Pharisee’s prayer in Luke 18:11. But I know this type of prayer, because I have received it, and sadly, I have given it. Neither feels real or genuine or pleasant. I am trying to resolve this issue in my own heart at the moment. Perhaps you have some ideas.
Have you ever been on the receiving end of pity? Or even worse, pity prayers?
How do you cope? What is the right response?