I Can Pray for Myself?
The prayer night at Destino Trek was a highlight for most of us. The room had been set up in different stations and students were able visit each at their own pace. Two of them in particular made this prayer unique for a Latino audience.
One station asked each participant to trace their hand on a piece of paper, then write their personal prayer, and pray for themselves. As our facilitator explained the exercise, concerns raised up as to whether it was ok to pray and petition for oneself. A couple of students expressed “I never pray for myself.” Our facilitator explained the importance of praying for our own needs.
I imagine one of the reasons it is hard for Latinos to pray for their own personal needs is because there is a high emphasis on communal identity; thus the needs of the community are elevated over the needs of the individual and make it difficult to identify much less pray for individual needs.
Also, many students in Destino come from communities that have been in need for a long time. When one belongs to a community that struggles to have their needs met, asking for one’s individual needs could seem burdensome as it seems to add to the community’s struggle.
I believe this exercise in praying was redemptive for many in learning that God cares for them as individuals as He cares for their community.
I’ll discuss another prayer station in a later post.
Photo Credit: @puah1