Prayers for the egomaniacs

Last week I had an important self-realization: I like to pray about me.

When it comes to my relationship with Heavenly Father I am really good at asking for things and complaining about things and suggesting things and basically, covering all my personal bases over and over again. And sometimes I’ll pray for my kids and Jason but really, even those prayers are usually please-don’t-let-anyone-throw-up-because-I-can’t-stand-the-smell, and please-help-me-find-that-$40-so-Jason-doesn’t-kill-me oriented.

Last week we had a few sets of missionaries over for dinner. They are seriously the sweetest kids ever, and one of the duos hasn’t seen Americans in over a year. I made them a massive feast of Cafe Rio knock-off chicken salads in deep fried tortilla shells, and I was feeling bad that I forgot the creamy cilantro dressing until they freaked out at seeing Hidden Valley Ranch for the first time in over a year.

After dinner we were laughing and visiting and gabbing about life like long lost cousins, and they started talking about their mission president, President Schwartz. He’s the German in charge of all the mormon missionaries in the greater Frankfurt region of I don’t know what. He’s got about 270ish young men and young women under his umbrella and handles it with a good mix of charity and humor.

One thing they were saying about him that really caught me off guard is how incredible his prayers are. He is known for regularly praying for his missionaries one…by…one. Over 250 of them. He remembers and knows them all. His wife told one of the elders that sometimes he doesn’t come to bed until 4:00 am because it takes him so long to get through his prayers.

All I could do was think of my pitiful personal and totally selfish attempts at communication with God. Lame. My prayers are so lame. Huge, miserable epiphany.

I’m the young women’s president in our little branch and I was lecturing the girls earlier this month on Christlike service and how easy it is to find ten minute pockets to help others out by lending hand at home or at school. Since I do laundry and cook and clean and teach and sew dolly clothes and mostly devote all my time to the welfare of the small people who live here, I considered my service bases covered. (See what I mean? I totally assumed I was above reproach, how lame.) I didn’t even stop to think that maybe I could find an extra ten minutes to step outside the box and offer something better to the universe than scrambled eggs.

I have now realized that I’m a praying narcissist and that this is a perfect opportunity for me to multi-task my Better Soul efforts and step up my game.

My goal has been that for one week I would only pray for other people, and I’d make it a good substantial prayer. No more, “Please help me not eat chocolate,” or “Please don’t let the clothes in the washing machine sour tonight because I’m too lazy to go down and change them,” or “Please help the ambulances get those crash victims out of the road so I can get to my appointment on time.” From now on only Good Will Toward Men prayers, at least for a week.

And the only reason I’m admitting all this is because I have had the best five days ever. No words to describe it except to say that somehow by not praying for myself I’ve seen more little and big blessings in my daily schedule during this one week than the last few months put together. It’s been amazing.

(And yes, I feel a little bit like Phoebe because I really was looking forward to doing something good with no rewards.)