Prayer For Yourself


Scripture encourages us to seek the spiritual and material blessings of God. Jesus said:
"Ask and you will receive and your joy will be complete." (John_16:24).

We should approach God as a child approaches a father who delights to give us good things (Matthew_7:7-11).

It is important to put our requests into words and not just assume that because God knows everything we don't have to ask. To ask is humbling; it reveals our dependence on God. If we do not come to Him with our needs, the implication is that we don't need Him! Prayer is a two way relationship with God.

A warning:

"When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures". (James_4:3)

We need to distinguish between our needs and our wants, so that we are not praying out of a covetous or self indulgent spirit. Before we ask things of God, we need to check our motives and that we are in right relationship with God. This is vital, because then we will normally be asking things in line with His will for us.

Having done this, we should seeking to pray "in the spirit" (Ephesians_6:18). Try to avoid riders such as: 'if it be in your will' (Mark_11:22-25). Not that this can't be right, but it can be over done through lack of waiting on God or lack of confidence in God.

Jesus example

What are some of the things Jesus prayed for Himself?

  • For His will to be conformed to His Father's (Matthew_6:10);
  • To provide strength for the needs around Him (Luke_22:43);
  • For wisdom and guidance (e.g.: choosing His disciples - Luke_6:12);
  • In three years He changed the world system - yet He took time out to pray all night.

Here are some practical hints on prayer for yourself

  • Before spending time asking God, be sure you have spent time in confession and repentance so that you come before Him cleansed.

  • Talk the matter over with God before you "ask". Consider it from every angle. Ask Him what He thinks. This is a good way to check motives... and sometimes we may decide beforehand not to ask God after all.

  • Be specific; avoid vague prayers (bless me etc.). The more specific we are, the easier it is to praise God when He answers our requests. If a request is vague, it may mean we don't feel strongly enough about it. A short time later we may even have forgotten what we have asked for.

  • Keep requests simple, direct, balanced and honest.

  • Pray in line with your faith. Ask for things you can imagine happening. For example for someone trying to give up smoking, rather than praying for God's help to stop smoking, it may be better to pray: "Please help me to get through today without a cigarette! In this way things are taken a step at a time, steps that you can believe for.
    Discuss other examples where we can pray in line with our faith.

  • Use your prayer time to immerse your decision making needs in God's love and to search out His ways. God will never interfere with our will. Unless we make a decision to change, it is no good asking God to help us do something or not to do something! However, once we have made a decision of our will to change, then we can then ask God for His help and strength to maintain and carry through our decision.

  • If we are having trouble making the right decision, we can ask God to help us become willing to accept the right kind of change. We can invite Him to influence our desires and bring them more into line with His own (Psalms_37:4). All these points apply, to a greater or lesser extent, to requests for both material and spiritual blessings. We need to come to our heavenly father for our 'daily bread'... those small daily needs.

    But our constant prayer should also be - to be made more like Jesus -'show me what needs to be changed Father.'

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    Created on: 28 August 1997 Last updated: 28 August 1997