Some think they deserve to suffer and die – Part 4 of Why Pray?

Some think they deserve to suffer and die – Part 4 of Why Pray? December 3, 2021

So what – nothing makes us undeserving of prayer

I’ve heard too many people declare that they were born broken. So what? Chronic disease, substance abuse and self-harm, bad behavior, whether voluntary or not, destroys precious life, so they really need to be helped. There is help. Start with prayer.

Surely the thing God enjoys most about being God is the thrill of being merciful, especially to those who don’t expect it and often feel they don’t deserve it.  – Jeffrey R Holland

A poor man
A Poor Man
“There’s one advantage of Poverty, no one asks about religion. Everyone says poor.” Image and quote: Raazsingh007 on Wikipedia

We have to try and not ignore our conditions. We often live dangerously by not taking care of ourselves. There’s a horrible saying that God protects fools and drunks. But maybe they’re just lucky until they aren’t. Do something risky 10 times, and if it doesn’t end you, it must be okay? We actually think like this. The eleventh or one-thousandth time we get harmed or go to an early grave. It’s like running on a bald tire with the steel showing through – who knows when it’s going to go flat and take us with it. Medical conditions do better when treated early, not when they’re a crisis.

Many feel they deserve the cancer or emphysema they get from smoking, and refuse treatment. They feel they don’t deserve treatment. From my own experience, smoking was part of fitting in. I know how difficult it is to quit. It took me several attempts over several years. And vaping appears to be even more addictive, with overdose from nicotine poisoning. According to a Johns Hopkins article, nearly 7 of 10 smokers want to stop. I saw my father and uncle suffer horribly and die from smoking. And I understand the need many smokers feel to smoke – it’s soothing and supplies the addiction.

It’s the same with nervous eating and drinking alcohol as a solution

They’re not solutions, but they’re what people have at hand. We deal with food at least three times a day. It’s an unrelenting temptation. But there is help available. Perhaps the most difficult things to overcome are feeling unworthy, recognizing there is a problem, reaching out for help, and accepting help.

Please don’t ever think that you’re unworthy of medical or other intervention. God is here for you, and works through the world for you. We’re all here for you, all instruments of God. More recently, Medicaid is addressing these issues more fully in the US. Help is available for all, and all are worthy.

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7-8 (NIV)

Do we have unrealistic expectations of others?

If we pray for someone to change, in my experience some change happens within years and some happens gradually over the person’s lifetime. While some people change when there’s a crisis, others are excruciatingly slow to change.

If we expect rapid change in a relationship, that’s an unrealistic expectation. In fact, if we go into a relationship expecting to change people, wisdom is that you can’t. We have to give God time to work. Growth and change are experiential.

Consider that God is dealing with people, and we’re stubborn and selfish and hate change, hate being wrong, and hate being told what to do. I work with people and it’s often a very long, difficult task. It takes a lot of patience.

An example of results from praying for others

Fom the Pray with Confidence Blog: When her husband had chosen another woman despite a growing family, M. J. Villatoro worked three jobs to support three children. Her prayer was for the return of her husband just like he was.

She said, “God didn’t answer my prayers quickly, but in time, things began to change. My husband made the decision to end his affair after two years and became more invested in our kids and me again.” She continued that their marriage became better than ever.

This result is very typical of marriages that go through difficult problems, and rather than divorce, they hold on and work through the difficulties. Those marriages usually get stronger. (Those who hang on and don’t work through difficulties, get worse.)

God helps people fix what is wrong, not just the immediate wrong, but the underlying wrongs. But instead of instantaneous answers where the next day a spouse comes home a changed person, we have to give God time to work, and sometimes it’s a long time. Same thing with career growth, etc.

Take Home Points

God listens to us and responds whether we feel like we deserve it or not. We are responsible for our own wellbeing, but may not be the cause of our bad behaviors. Even if we are, God still cares. We don’t deserve the bad consequences of not taking care of ourselves. As children of God, we have good things available to us, usually through others. And when we stop feeling guilty, we are more likely to end our bad behaviors.

Pray and keep communicating with God. It works.

Next in the series

Consider our own attitude: Are we willing to accept “no?”  – Part 5 of Why Pray?


Our answer is God. God’s answer is us. Together we make the world a better place.

– Dorian

Other Patheos writers on prayer




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