Empathy and its Impact on Prayer

Series “Me, Myself and I” Part 3

Philippians 2: 4-5 (KJV)
Vs. 4: Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
Vs. 5: Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus”

In the August and September messages the focus was learning to have a spiritual outreach to those you deal with and to those with whom you have relationships with. In short, the main thrust of those messages was about having a concern more for others than for yourself. In August we dealt with the tragic consequences of the several incidents we witnessed – the selfishness of individuals who take unresolved personal issues out on others. Last month we talked about how to communicate with one another and how to resolve conflict. Once again, the key principle to keep in mind was being sensitive to the feelings of the other person as you convey your feelings. To that end, we reviewed an outline for conflict resolution.

This month we will focus on having empathy for others, even those that you do not know personally. When viewing the daily news via newspaper, cable T.V., etc., it is replete with events that are inexplicable. Each day without fail the news organizations are dedicated to keeping us more informed on the abnormal behavior of individuals, nations, and organizations, rather than the positive affirmations regarding the good things that are happening. Many times the events are so bizarre that there’s the tendency to be critical and judgmental. You may easily question “how could they do that?”, “what is wrong with them?”. Inwardly one might be thinking, I wouldn’t do that, I’m better than that, shame on them. The Apostle Paul admonishes us in Vs. 4 and Vs. 5, to look with concern on these individuals with aberrant behavior. Jesus speaks to the behavior he expects of us in his Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:43-48 “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for He maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Jesus further elaborates in Matthew 7:1-5, “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye. Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

When we hear of calamities around the world, we can’t be there for face to face prayer, condolence, and comfort, but God can. He is not only Omnipotent, Omniscient, but Omnipresent (everywhere at the same time). You can have empathy and pray right where you are. I am reminded on the T.V. Series Star Trek, where Captain Kirk says “Scotty beam me down” or “Scotty beam me up.” This series was decades ahead of space technology, much of which is now a reality except the beaming and transporting of bodies. But we are spiritually able to beam God everywhere through prayer.

Remember what James said in James 5:16 “Confess your faults one to another and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

Yours in Christ,

Dempsey Scott Harrison, Jr.


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