"David said, 'What has happened? Tell me.' He replied, 'The people fled from the battle, and many of them have fallen and are dead. Saul and his son Jonathan are dead too.'" 2 Sam 1:4
Occasionally, I meet someone who tells me they never pray for themselves, and I am stunned. Praying for oneself is natural and necessary. Surely, David, in his grief at the death of his friend Jonathan, prayed for himself. I can hear him say: Help me, O God, to accept your will and to live in your presence. Keep me focused on your desire for the world, not on my own grief, and show me the path you would have me walk.
Anne Dillard's little book on prayer, Help, Thanks, Wow is a delightful exploration of this kind of prayer. Dillard demonstrates that the universal cry for help is natural and ought to lead to prayer. When we are lost, terrified of tomorrow and confused about how to be present to others, the simple prayer, Help! is a very honest way to tell God that we need direction. Moreover, when we remember to say thank you to God for always being there, our prayer is complete.
Today, respond to someone else's request for help, even if you don't have time.
Why is it sometimes difficult for you to ask for help?