Do you ever feel guilty for feeling blessed when others around you don’t seem to be experiencing blessing?
If you have no idea what I’m talking about, good for you! You may not want to read any further. But if you, like me, sometimes experience something akin to spiritual survivor’s guilt, this post may help.
Thanksgiving is a week away. So, a spiritual discipline I’m trying to be intentional about this month is gratitude. I don’t want to take God’s blessings for granted. He gives good gifts—He deserves to be thanked. Besides, telling God “Thank You” deepens my joy, strengthens my faith, and connects me to His heart.
A distressing thing happens sometimes, though. When, for instance, I thank God for sparing my son from the hurricane two weeks ago, I feel bad about all the other people who suffered great hardship and loss. I wonder, “Why me? Why did God favor my family while others went through a nightmare?” But if I linger on those questions very long, my joy seeps away, and instead of feeling thankful, I just feel guilty.
God spoke to me about this troubling phenomenon today. He offered a simple suggestion: What if each time you thank Me for something, you also offer a prayer for someone who needs that same blessing? I bless you to make you a blessing, you know.
When He said that, Scriptures rushed to mind. I’ve freely received, He calls me to freely give (Matthew 10:8). He’s been generous with me, so I can be generous with others, which results in “thanksgiving to God” (2 Corinthians 9:11). He’s comforted me in my troubles so I can pass along the same comfort He has given me (2 Corinthians 1:4).
I’d never thought of those verses in terms of prayer, but they fit. To be prayed for is a gift. When we pray for others, we invite God’s love and power into their circumstances. What better gift is there than that? So, when He blesses me, I can pay it forward by praying blessing on others.
I’ve only been experimenting with this for a few hours, but I’m excited. Here’s how it has gone so far: I received an upbeat email from my son. God is really blessing him. So I thanked Him for that blessing, then prayed for parents I know who long to see Him bless their sons and daughters. I thanked God for meaningful, enjoyable work, and then prayed for people I know who are currently unemployed. I thanked God for a good meal I sat down to this evening, then asked Him to provide for my Compassion child in Kenya. You get the idea.
What do you think? There’s one more week before Thanksgiving. Want to join me in offering intentional thanks to God for the blessings He’s given you, and then take it one step further by praying it forward? If you do, I’d love to hear how it goes.