Often we want people to pray for us and help us, but always defeat our object when we look too much to them and lean upon them. The true secret of union is for both to look upon God, and in the act of looking past themselves to Him they are unconsciously united. The sailor was right when he saw the little boy fall overboard and waited a minute before he plunged to his rescue. When the distracted mother asked him in agony why he had waited so long, he sensibly replied: “I knew that if I went in before he would clutch and drag me down. I waited until his struggles were over, and then I was able to help him when he did not grasp me too strongly.”
When people grasp us too strongly, either with their love or with their dependence, we are intuitively conscious that they are not looking to God, and we become paralyzed in our efforts to help them. United prayer, therefore, requires that the one for whom we pray be looking away from us to the Lord Jesus Christ, and we together look to Him alone.