Sunday, June 30, 2013

God Help the Outcasts

I have some thoughts I needed to get out, but it would be too long for a Facebook post, so I’m turning to my sadly neglected blog. It’s very typical of me though. I always think I’m going to write a lot, it was the same way with my journaling, and then I don’t. It’s funny because my last post says that I will blog more. Ha! Even as I wrote that I knew it was probably a lie. Sorry about that…so after this post, I can’t promise anything. I probably won’t write for a while. But that’s just who I am. Anyway…moving on.

We watched the Hunchback of Notre Dame earlier this week. It is a fantastic but forgotten Disney movie. When you watch it as a child, you miss all the funny jokes and the deep meanings of things. As we watched, I was constantly struck by the deep meaning and messages in the dialogue, mostly in the songs. One song in particular struck me hard and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. Have a listen.

In this song, Esmeralda is alone, outcast, and hunted and looking for help. She prays that God will help all outcasts who just don’t find help in this world. This part is what gets me. The regular, normal people are saying their prayers. They say,

I ask for wealth 

I ask for fame
I ask for glory to shine on my name
I ask for love I can posses
I ask for God and His angels to bless me

How often do our prayers sound exactly like this? Please help me get that job. Please help me pass this class. Not that these are necessarily bad things, but it is the excessive use of the word 'me' that is troubling. What do I want? What do I need? It is so easy to put ourselves first. Even in our prayers we ask for blessings mostly for ourselves. 

Esmeralda offers this prayer instead,  

I ask for nothing
I can get by
But I know so many
Less lucky than I
Please help my people
The poor and down trod
I thought we all were
The children of God

She asks for nothing for herself, although she could really use the help. She asks for blessings for all those who are less fortunate than herself. This hit me so hard because I have been incredibly selfish lately. In my grumpy, morning sickness state, I always think about what I need. I pray so many times a day for God to help me get through. I do need the help, but I have completely forgotten about the needs of others. What does Morgan need? My perpetual sickness affects him too. What should I be doing to help him get through this? What does my little brother need? I completely forgot to wish him a happy birthday. What about my cousin who is having troubles at work, or my friend who just lost a family member? There are so many people out there who have greater needs than I do. In reality, I am already so blessed. I have many things that others do not. I should spend more time praying for others instead of only praying for myself.

I challenge everyone tonight when you pray to pray only for other people. Ask for blessings for the people you know, or don’t know, who may be struggling with something right now. I know it’s hard to do (I tried the night we watched the movie), but there are so many people less lucky than us who need the blessings. What if everyone in the whole world, just for one day, put the needs of others first? That day would be full of service and kindness. If we truly believe that we are all the children of God, we should try to treat others as such.

I know that prayer works. I have seen it work so many times in my life. I know that I receive many of the blessings I ask for. Since I know prayer works for me, I know it works for others people too. God can and will answer our prayers on behalf of other people. Let us all try harder to think more about our neighbors, and spend more time praying for blessing that can help the people we love.