Offering to pray for someone is a bold step of faith. I’m not talking about typing this sentiment into the comment section of a Facebook post. I’m talking about actually approaching someone and praying for them, out loud, right then and there. It’s something I personally don’t do very often, but has been done for me on several occasions throughout my life and often for one reason. I’m blind. I won’t bombard you with the specifics of my eye condition. I have some residual vision, but to travel safely I use a cane, I can read Braille, my technology talks to me, you get the picture.
The first time I can remember this happening I was seven years old. My parents and I were leaving a restaurant and a man behind us stopped my parents and whispered “is she blind?”. He then offered to pray for me and we stood there, his hand on my shoulder, his other arm extended to the sky as he loudly prayed “Lord, give her eyes to see and ears to hear.” He then gave my parents his number and like a physician prescribing an antibiotic told them to call him if they saw any changes.
Even then, as a rather optimistic second grader, I felt uncomfortable. While he was praying for me I remember thinking to myself what do I do? Was I supposed to bow my head? Was I supposed to look up like he was? It was strange.
The most recent time this occurred was a few weeks ago at my church. As I was getting up to leave, a woman in my row stopped me and asked to pray for me. It was a genuine prayer, but of course, a little ways in, was a plea for my sight to be restored.
I felt myself sink.
When the automatic reflex is to pray for my blindness, I feel like that is all you see. When you rush to me, convinced you can persuade God to make blurred lines crisp and colors more defined, I feel alienated. When you desperately search for the words that will somehow convince God to flip a switch causing my retinas to function properly, I am made to feel that there is something wrong with me.
The assumption seems to be that my blindness is my biggest struggle and trust me, it’s not.
Do I believe in a miracle working God? Absolutely. I also, however, believe in a God who carefully and uniquely designs us before we enter the world (Psalm 139:13). Seeing as my visual impairment is caused by two very specific genetic mutations, I have to believe that this is part of His plan. To me, having my sight prayed for feels a bit like someone praying for me to be taller or for my hair to turn a different color.
While I do appreciate the heart behind the prayers, my hope is that in the future, you look past my disability when you pray for me.