5 Ways to Pray for Your Own Spiritual Growth
What does the Bible say about our own character?
When we think about the Lord and say His name, it should be in humility, awe, and reverence.
I want my life to count. I want to dream big dreams, listen for God’s leading, and get to work bearing fruit for His kingdom. To quote William Carey, a missionary to India, I want to “expect great things from God” and to “attempt great things for God.” I don’t know what God has planned for my future or even if those things will include “great things” in the eyes of man. Maybe His plans will include a husband serving beside me. Maybe not. But whether it includes a husband or sold-out singleness for a lifetime, I want to live for Jesus. Don’t you?
This passage from Malachi can encourage us to live with our eyes on eternity and be focused on what really matters as we work and wait. Here is God’s description of the Levites:
“So shall you know that I have sent this command to you, that my covenant with Levi may stand, says the LORD of hosts. My covenant with him was one of life and peace, and I gave them to him. It was a covenant of fear, and he feared me. He stood in awe of my name. True instruction was in his mouth, and no wrong was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and he turned many from iniquity. For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts. But you have turned aside from the way” (Mal. 2:4–8).
Based on this passage, here are five ways to be set apart for God. They were relevant for priests in the Old Testament, and they are relevant for girls like you and me who want to live our lives for Jesus right now.
1. Fear God.
What does it mean to fear God? The book of Psalms describes people who fear the Lord as people who rejoice in God’s commands, trust in Him, and obey and serve Him wholeheartedly.
But the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love (Ps. 147:11).
Fearing God is knowing that God sees everything we think, do, and say and that His ways are perfect. It means obeying His commands and following the standards that He has set in His Word, even when nobody’s watching. It’s being more concerned with what God knows about us than what man thinks of us.
Fearing God is seeking to serve Him alone.
2. Stand in awe of His name.
When I think about God’s holiness, my sin rises to the surface and a rush of gratefulness washes over me. Jesus, the Name above all names, saved me and has provided a way for me to approach God’s throne! When we think about the Lord and say His name, it should be in humility, awe, and reverence.
For more help in understanding and standing in awe of God’s name, check out this radio series, ” The Wonder of His Name.”
3. Tame the tongue.
No, not the tongue! my insides want to scream. It’s so hard to control our words, isn’t it?
James 1:26 doesn’t pull any punches about this: “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.”
Jesus said it this way, “Out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45).
Are true, pure, and right words coming out of your lips?
Translation: Whatever is in our heart will come out in our words.
Take a minute and ask the Lord what’s been in your heart lately. Are true, pure, and right words coming out of your lips? Fill your heart with truth so your words are uplifting to those around you.
4. Walk with God in peace and uprightness.
How has your walk with the Lord been? Is it characterized by deep valleys and epic mountaintop experiences? Is it currently at a standstill and not really moving anywhere? Are you faithful, even when you feel that God is silent or not there? The priests Malachi pointed to served the Lord faithfully for years,
day-in and day-out, sacrificing animals on behalf of the people of Israel, keeping God’s law to the best of their ability.
Each of us will have times where we feel stuck or like we are not growing in our relationship with Christ. It’s important that during those times we ask the Lord for grace and choose to be faithful to seek God first, even if we don’t feel like He is near. In these seasons, we can trust that He is a faithful Father, and we can rest peacefully in the promises of His Word.
5. Turn many away from sin.
God can use us to turn many from iniquity? (That’s a fancy word for sin.) Wow! Even though we may not be priests, we can direct people to Christ in the way that we live our lives. God can use us to show people who Jesus is and to be an example to them in faith, love, and purity.
We won’t do it perfectly, but we can make it our aim to please the Lord and be someone who others can follow!
From the Levites’ example, here are a few ways to be praying for your own character:
- Pray that God would give you the grace to fear Him alone and give you a desire to serve Him with an undivided heart.
- Pray that you would honor God’s name, remembering His holiness.
- Pray that you would speak words that are wise, pure, and righteous.
- Pray that you would be faithful in your walk with the Lord through every season.
- Pray that you would be a godly example for others to follow.
By Cristi Fredericks