A Prayer for Pain-Generated Compassion
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Col. 3:12
Dear Lord Jesus, the gospel should be all the motivation I need for living as a compassionate, kind, humble, gentle, and patient man—especially when I consider this is how you relate to me 24/7, in full view of my ill-deserving ways. I’ll never experience you as insensitive, unkind, proud, harsh, or impatient. Indeed, through the gospel, I’ve become a member of God’s chosen, holy, dearly loved people.
Yet there are days in which it does take more for me to be a spontaneously compassionate man; sometimes it takes pain. Today is just such a day. Instead of lacing on my shoes for a morning jog, I’ll be heading to my dear friend’s office to get a cortisone shot for hamstring tendonitis. The glorified body you’re preparing for me is looking better and better all the time.
But in my not-really-all-that-bad discomfort, I’m moved to pray today for chronic sufferers—those who cry, “How long, O Lord?” for better reasons and with more tears than I have.
Lord Jesus, I pray for people with unrelenting pain in their bodies—those who no longer get any relief from physical therapy or medication. Show your mercy and might on their behalf. I pray for those who suffer with emotional and mental diseases—living in the cruel world of delusional thinking and sabotaging emotions. I also pray for their families and caregivers. Grant them extraordinary measures of your grace and wisdom.
I pray for the unconscionable number of children in the world who are suffering from hunger and malnutrition, and for their parents who feel both shame and helplessness. It’s hard to imagine the cruel reality they face every single day. Lord, these and many more stories of great suffering I bring before you. Show each of us the part we can play in these stories, as an expression of your tear wiping hand, and the promise of the ultimate Day of redemption and healing.
I also pray for the worst chronic suffering of all: for those who are “separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world” (Eph. 2:12). Come, Holy Spirit, come, and apply the saving benefits of Jesus, to the religious and the nonreligious alike—to those who may be in the church or in the culture, but who are not in Christ.
Lord, I anticipate getting over this knee pain pretty soon, but I don’t want to get over compassionate praying and compassionate living. So very Amen I pray, in your kind and caring name.