I wouldn’t call myself a prayer warrior, but I’ve made tremendous efforts to grow in prayer over the past several years. All Christians are commanded to do so, and few hours of the day are more enjoyable than my quiet alone time with the Lord.
Over the years, mainly through suffering and good resources on prayer, I’ve learned that I must pray for myself regularly. Sure, I need to grow in praying for others, but I’ve never felt guilty praying for myself.
My pastor does.
And I’m no greater than them, so I’ll continue to pray for myself without feeling bad about it.
What about you? Do you pray for yourself?
Maybe this will help. Let me give you a sneak peek into my prayer life.
Here’s a few ways that I pray for myself. Feel free, of course, to steal some of these prayers and incorporate them into your own life.
1. “Lord, give me wisdom.”
James 1:5 says that God gives wisdom to those who ask. Think about it. An all-knowing, all-wise God is eager to bless you with wisdom if you ask with faith. Why would you not ask?
I pray for wisdom almost more than I pray for anything else. I pray for wisdom before class, before hard conversations, when planning my life — almost with everything. I learned this back in undergrad and it’s been a life-changer ever since.
2. “Lord, help me to trust in your Providence.”
Life is hard, often filled with senseless and perplexing trials. Christians are not omitted from suffering. And since I don’t know what the day will bring when I rise, I often pray that God will help me trust in his providence — whether good or bad — knowing that he’s working all things out for my good.
And I know that he does. Providence is one of my favorite doctrines. And I need to pray providence into my life daily.
3. “Lord, bless my enemies.”
I’ve got a few enemies. I’m not surprised, though, because Jesus said this will happen. And because of my sinful flesh, I get annoyed easily and simply have a difficult time loving certain people. I find that when I pray for them, my dislike for them leaves, and bitterness doesn’t get the best of me.
As Dietrich Bonhoeffer says, “I can no longer condemn or hate a brother for whom I pray, no matter how much trouble he causes me.”
4. “Lord, bless my health.”
Not in a prosperity gospel type of way. But I do pray for good health. I pray for my body, for energy, for sleep, and for my overall well-being.
5. “Lord, protect me from the enemy, his servants, and their works.”
I’ve experienced more spiritual warfare in the past two months than I did in the past two years (I think). But Jesus is greater than the enemy. Jesus says you should pray for protection, so I often pray that the Lord will protect my emotions, thoughts, and life from the evil one.
6. “Lord, give me favor.”
Again, not in a Joel Osteen type of way. But in a general way. I pray for success and favor in my endeavors. I ask the Lord to increase my influence and bless all that I do. Then I pray that I will steward it well for his glory.
7. “Lord, help me to steward my life well for your glory.”
Paul tells us to make the best use of time (Ephesians 5:16).
The Psalmist says that everything belongs to the Lord (Psalm 24:1).
James tells us that life goes by quickly (James 4:14).
Point: I know that everything I have has been entrusted to me, and life is short. And I want to maxmize my time well. So I pray that I will live a fruitful life, in which I maximize my potential in Christ, and steward all things well for his glory.
8. “Lord, help me to pursue holiness on a macro and micro level.”
What people see of me is the exterior. This is important — but it’s not enough.
I can seem impressive in public, yet remain sinful in private. And when we talk about holiness, we often only talk about the “big things” like not killing people, and staying faithful to your spouse. But holiness is much more than that. It includes the thousand little, overlooked things of life that no one else knows about. I pray that I can honor the Lord in these things.
9. “Lord, help me to feel your presence.”
Feelings are not everything. But feelings do matter. And I don’t know about you, but I want to feel the presence of the Lord in my daily interactions. I want the powerful presence of the Lord to be something I know tangibly.
10. “Lord, prepare my heart.”
I pray for this when changes are near. I pray for this when beginning a new endeavor. I pray for this when life seems uncertain. The truth is, I don’t know what I truly need. But God does. And before the shock of life hits me, I want to be prepared.
11. “Lord, help me to be the kind of Christian that is almost impossible to offend.”
I recently started praying this because I noticed I started to feel snubbed over petty things. This bothered me. The gospel is big enough for my little insecurities, and so I pray that the Lord will help me not be easily offended.
12. “Lord, increase my love for you and your church.”
I want to love the Lord and his people more fervently, and so I pray for this often.
This list is not exhaustive, but is merely an example of some of the things I regularly pray for myself. Time would fail for me to mention everything. But I hope you can steal a few of these prayers and start praying them today.
After all, you should pray for yourself every single day and not feel guilty about it. Yes, you should pray for your spouse and your neighborhood and the nations. But don’t become so holy that you forget to mention yourself in your prayers. Prayer is a powerful weapon that God invites you to use everyday. As John Piper says, “Prayer casues things to happen that would not happen if you didn’t pray.”
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