Sometimes when I sit down to do my devotions I struggle with what I will spend those precious moments on. Of course I need to read the Bible and hear The Lord’s voice. And then there’s prayer. I need to set my day out before The Lord before I head into it. And then there’s a world full of people that need prayer. What if I pray for myself and then run out of time? Shouldn’t I pray for everyone else first?
This morning The Lord gave me an interesting analogy. You know when you’re in an airplane and they are giving the demonstration of what you should do in the event of a loss of pressure in the plane? They stress the importance of putting your own oxygen mask on before putting on your child’s or anyone else’s that you may be assisting.
But why? That seems so selfish. Help myself before helping someone else?!? But if you think about it, it makes perfect sense. If you focus too much on assisting others before first having oxygen of your own you will quickly die from lack of oxygen and where does that leave the person you were assisting? You’ll both be in trouble.
In much the same way we need to make sure that we are taking care of our own relationship with God before we set out to help others. Being firmly planted in Him will ensure a much better shot at being any help to those he has put in our life. And just as a lack of oxygen will lead to physical death, the lack of a personal connection with our Heavenly Father will lead to spiritual death.
Jesus himself regularly connected with his Father as he would go off on his own and pray every day.
In the book of John, there’s a whole chapter dedicated to a prayer that Jesus prayed for his disciples and for us. I love reading it and seeing that the Savior himself prayed for me. It is very comforting and assuring. But interestingly, Jesus started the prayer praying for the task he himself had set before him. Before he went on to lift up those he loves in prayer, he lifted up himself and his own work for The Kingdom.
This is a good reminder for us not to focus so much on everyone else’s need for Jesus that we neglect our own.
John 17: (a few verses)
After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. … I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. … My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. … I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
(John 17:1, 11, 15-19, 20-21, 26 NIV)