It happens every so often. Some asks me to pray for them or with them, but they do not want to be added to the church prayer list, or for me to ask others to pray for them. Sometimes the situation or condition is one that they feel, out of fear, shame or worry, prohibits publication. Sometimes, they are just shy. Sometimes it feels okay to ask a "professional" (which is a post for another day...) but not to bother others with it. Often it is some combination.
I understand where this privacy comes from, having been one who for years was loathe to suggest weakness, illness or any other need publicly. But in the trials and travails of dealing with infertility (see here for more), and in the joys and concerns of raising Lil Bit, we have been very public about asking for prayers.
In doing so, I have discovered several things:
First, I still have trouble sometimes asking for prayers for me. For the Mrs. or for Lil Bit, no trouble! But for me... I am still a work in progress.
Next, I can see why people don't ask for prayers publicly. There is a vulnerability to naming pain or weakness or worry or fear publicly. Any worries we have about being judged tend to get exacerbated.
But more importantly, there is a powerful support in knowing that others are thinking about me and praying for me.
And when we calmly speak the truth about our difficulties, our pain, our wounds, our struggles, it allows others to speak the truth about theirs. And when we all start speaking the truth, community with compassion starts to truly take root and grow.
I still pray with people who don't want it broadcast. But I also ask if they are sure.