A Practical Prayer; when Bearing the Burdens of Others

We live in a country and a time where the seemingly smallest of struggles can feel like the biggest inconveniences. Our car radio doesn’t take an aux cord, our phone goes flat, we forget our earphones for a bus ride or we “have absolutely nothing to wear”. Then we flick on the news and we feel guilty at the devastation of a third world country where clean water is luxury.

Then we get reminded of the struggles of so many others around us – workmates, friends, neighbours, family.

Someone loses their job, a friend’s parents split up, our uncle gets really sick, our parents go through some financial difficulty or we just aren’t sure about the wellbeing of someone we love.

So often, many of us can feel like nothing should be holding us back and it’s our duty to fix everything.

Then suddenly we take it upon ourselves to do so. We try to be a source of support to every person and their burden – in turn, we become a burden-bearer.

And it’s a great intention to want to make everything all better for those we love.

Unfortunately, it’s impossible.

In trying to become life savers, we can so easily get caught in the rip of other people’s problems as well. What begins as a want to be there for someone can become a career of trying to keep two people’s heads above some turbulent water.

It’s like being a doctor to a patient.

The doctor has made it their life purpose to heal people. Their patient presents with an illness that is affected by any number of lifestyle factors.

Sometimes, the doctor heals the patient and teaches them how to avoid that sickness again. Sometimes, the illness is permanent and so the doctor must teach the patient to manage it. Sometimes, the patient doesn’t want to change to improve their health or the illness is so severe that the patient dies.

Even when doctors do heal patients – they never hand out a prescription for immortality.

Just so, in caring for others – we can’t expect ourselves to fix everything and so, when going out to bear the burdens of others, we must be careful we don’t let them weigh us down. Empathy is a valuable trait to have but we aren’t perfect with an answer for everything and we have to accept that the ones we love will go through hard times.

That’s when we feel useless, confused or disheartened. That’s when we think there’s no answer and our friends’ burdens become our own.

That’s when we pray.

But how? Prayer can sometimes feel like such an intangible thing. To some people, it’s just an internal monologue. To others, it might be more of a duty than a source of comfort.

Humans are physical beings. We experience through the senses, and words in our head don’t always really give us the feeling that something has changed.

So when we struggle – we can make prayer practical. And how it’s done is all up to you.

Write your stresses down to God in a letter or find an activity that gives you relief – for me, it’s going for a run – and channel your prayer through that.

Using the internal monologue (as long or short as you want it to be), simply say,

“God, you know what’s bothering me. Please take it from me through this activity and let me find peace at the end.”

Because even when you can’t describe how or why something is affecting you, He knows what you’re feeling better than you do.

We’re not omniscient – God is.

We can’t take on the suffering of the world – God did.

It seems incredulous that a silent prayer with no audible answer can fix our problems. But “He was pierced for our transgressions” (Isiah 53:5).

We struggle to believe this because of how simple the answer is. Sometimes we’re flat our trying to comprehend the problem itself. So try express this and find solace from God through practical prayer.

In all problems – He is the solver.

In all illness – He is the healer.

In all competition – He is the winner.

In all our failures – He is success.

Elise Drum

Elise is a first year Medical student in Sydney from rural NSW who enjoys a variety of sports and being outdoors. She also loves food but when it comes to cooking – she burns water.

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