So here’s the short story: Friend of mine-let’s call him “Bob”-lost his job, found another one, drank because he was anxious like crazy, lost that job, and ended up doing side work enough to pay his rent and his car, at least most of the time. And he was going through a divorce.
The anxiety got worse. He became withdrawn. And he asked me what he could do to begin feeling like himself again.
I told him to be a Prayer Partner.
Specifically, I asked him to pray for others through a website. People put up their circumstances and difficulties on a website asking for the prayers of others to help them through their challenge. You can put it on a group prayer list or you can send prayers specifically through a chat feature. Either way, you’re giving somebody a little help, maybe a little hope.
I forgot to mention: Bob’s an atheist.
I told him to replace the word, “pray” with “encourage.” The French root of the word means “to hearten.”
“OK, I guess that’ll work.”
Two weeks later, I get a call. Bob got a comment from the Site Administrator.
“He said he really likes my comments, and told me one woman printed it and put it on her refrigerator. He asked me if I could lead a meeting in how write effective Prayers. Yeah, he used the word, “Prayers.” I mean, what the hell?
I had to take the call in the bathroom because I was laughing so hard I was worried I’d wet my pants.
Another week went by. “OK, I’m just going to say this. I feel great. I really do. I’m not thinking about myself anymore. The more I’m encouraging people to be strong, the stronger I felt."
"When I write these words of encouragements, I feel like I’m making a difference. The more I think about others, the less I think about my situation. I’m more at peace, and I feel more accepting but more in control at the same time. Weird. I told a guy online to “refuse to trade another minute of happiness for a minute of anxiety.” He told me he put that one on his bathroom mirror. And he sent that to the Site Administrator. Guy calls me. Wants to know how much I want to do this part time from my house.”
“I gave him a figure. He said, “We can do that.”
“I keep encouraging people. I still don’t use the word “prayer.”
“But the minute I focused on the needs of others, life changed for the better. Thanks for that.”
I told him it was no problem, that God loved him, and that I’ll keep him in my prayers.
He laughed, but said, “Thanks. I’ll do the same…sort of.”