RELIGION: It's not wrong to pray for yourself – Montrose Daily Press

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How then should we pray? For whom? Why and how? Many Christians pray often for a long list of people and situations. But do we pray for ourselves- seriously and often?
Probably not, because we think it’s selfish, or it violates humility and draws attention to ourselves rather than to God.
Maybe we feel guilty praying for ourselves because there are so many other visible needs in the world or we already have so much.
Or maybe we don’t do it because we’re avoiding God and aren’t interested in having conversations with Him. It’s more comfortable to pray for other people.
When we don’t pray for ourselves, we don’t have to worry about God asking us to do something we don’t want to do or to change something we don’t want to change. Neglecting to pray for ourselves, we can keep God at arm’s length and keep our lives free from His disruptions.
So why pray for yourself? If Jesus needed to pray for Himself (as He did), I certainly do. The Bible is filled with real people who prayed for themselves all their lives. If King David never prayed for his own needs – forgiveness, protection, direction — we wouldn’t have the Psalms. Self-prayer is surely biblical.
It’s also necessary if you’re a Christ-follower. Just as flight attendants instruct adults to put on their oxygen masks before trying to help children or others in an emergency, we are to be armed with prayer at all times. Otherwise we’re incapable of helping others.
Self-prayer is valuable because it helps to build a personal relationship in which God can guide, provide, comfort, convict, encourage, discipline, bless us. Besides getting to know God and enjoying His presence, our self prayers help God to grow us and use us for His purposes.
Much of this article is derived from J.R. Waller, founder of The Greater Heritage, and his basic class in praying for ourselves.
Praying for yourself is vital for a healthy Christian life, Waller asserts. Self-prayer makes us aware of our heart health and enables us to draw on God as our primary source of strength. It enables us to live an authentic and purposeful life for God’s sake and honor.
The Christian life itself starts from within (Romans 10:10). When we accept Jesus’ life sacrifice for our sins and redemption, He gives us a “new heart” (Ezekiel 36:26). The Holy Spirit then resides in our new heart and our desires to serve God emanate from that new heart (John 14:16-17). Therefore, it seems to me that it’s vital that we check and pray for our heart health every day.
Self-prayer is not self-exalting prayer. Rather it’s prayer steeped in self-awareness. It’s saying “God I need you and I want you.”
The Bible offers many examples of things to pray for ourselves. Dallas pastor/blogger Todd Gaddis suggests some: Lord, examine me. King David asked God to search, know, test and see if there was any offensive way in him. (Psalm 139:23-24) It takes courage to pray this way, but it works.
Lord, forgive my sins. I’m wasting my time praying if I’m not willing to make confession part of the process (Psalm 66:18).
Lord, fill me again with your Spirit. When renowned preacher D.L. Moody was asked why he constantly sought a filling of the Holy Spirit, he answered, “Because I leak.”
Lord, restore and strengthen me today. When weariness or apathy sneaks in, ask God, like King David did, “to restore to me the joy of your salvation” (Psalm 51:12).
Lord, grant me wisdom. We have plenty of information, but not much Godly wisdom floating around. God tells us to ask for it.
Protect my mind. I want to think good, not evil stuff. And because believers have the Holy Spirit living in us to help, we pray that He suppresses our carnal minds so Christ’s mind will reign.
Help me overcome unbelief (on personal specifics).
Give me divine appointments and opportunities to represent You to those in need. Proverbs 1:9 says “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” This tells me I need “God spaces” in my schedule.
We can also self-pray a few questions: “Lord, how can I bring you honor today? Is there anything in my life that’s unpleasing to you? How do you want to work through me this year? What needs to change within me for that to happen?”
I have a wall plaque of short self-prayers. I divide them across weeks, concentrating on one prayer for days at a time. You’re welcome to try it.
Dear God:
Enlighten what’s dark in me.
Strengthen what’s weak in me.
Mend what’s broken in me.
Bind what’s bruised in me.
Heal what’s sick in me.
Revive whatever peace and love has died in me.
Linda Cagnetti was a professional journalist with daily newspapers for 35 years, primarily with Gannett Newspapers (incl., their Cincinnati Enquirer and Florida Today publications).
Linda attends Grace Community Church in Montrose. She and her husband Frank have one adult son, and parent a fourteen- year-old grandson.
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