Ah, we Americans – the great individualists! We pride ourselves on our independence and self-reliance, but those same traits very easily lead to fairly extreme case of self-centeredness. The treatment? Prayer, of course!
Services on evangelism, outreach, giving, unity, etc… could contain a time of prayer for those outside of our normal prayer spheres, which usually fall into three spheres – ourselves (often the biggest sphere), ours family and friends (in some ways, an extension of sphere number one), and the rest of the world (usually a tack on).
Here’s what we do… Pause in the service, and have a brief time of directed prayer. However, instead of praying for ourselves our loved ones, we intentionally scan the room and choose someone that we don’t know to pray for. Not generic prayer – specifics. Prayers for spiritual strength, health, financial stability, good relationships, etc… Focusing on the specifics helps us to realize/remember that others have the same hopes/fears/needs/failings as we do, and that helps us to see them as real people, rather than living wallpaper in our worlds. When they’re real to us, it’s a lot easier to care both for and about them.