My recent surgery experience taught me a few things about praying for others.

*I found it hard to pray for myself. I couldn’t concentrate, and was distracted by attending to immediate details and worries. However, I was reminded that many people were praying for me. I was comforted to know that God heard all those prayers, even if he didn’t hear any from me.

I see now the importance of praying for others. When we are more detached from the situation, it’s easier to pray on the behalf of those who are too close to the situation to pray.

*While the prayers for physical healing was not answered by God the way I hoped (more about that later), I think the prayers to remain strong emotionally and spiritually were more important and definitely answered.

I didn’t like having my arms poked with needles all the time. The IV in my hand, the air tube in my nose, the bland diet, not being able to wash my hair, not being able to go outside, even just for a day, was not pleasant. Imagine multiplying that by days, or a week or weeks on end, in and out of ER. Life is like that for someone with a chronic or prolonged illness. The emotional state is very frail. It’s so easy to get discouraged, to be exasperated, to break down and fall into depression.

We cannot expect God to answer every prayer for healing (otherwise there would be immortality); physical healing is not always the most important prayer. Praying for emotional stability and spiritual stamina, to feel God’s love and presence, is the most important part of going through a physical illness.

*Prayer for someone has to be real. It’s not just a passing comment of “I’ll pray for you.” Imagine if people said they are praying for me and actually didn’t. I would’ve been left with no one to fight the spiritual warfare for me.

I will be more serious about praying for others, as I know they are depending on me to experience victory in their spiritual lives.

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