Praying for Ourselves

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Jesus has assured us that it isn’t selfish to pray for ourselves. When we approach God with our requests, let’s pray boldly!

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, thanking him for all he has done.   (Philippians 4:6, NLT)

‘Isn’t praying for yourself rather selfish?’ people sometimes ask. Not at all! We should never be embarrassed to bring our personal needs to God. He is our heavenly Father who delights to hear the heart cries of his children and who has committed himself to answering them out of his rich resources. Indeed, we are on very safe ground in praying for ourselves and our own needs, for Jesus modeled this for us in the Lord’s Prayer, encouraging us to pray about our present need (‘daily bread’), past sin (‘forgive us our debts’), and future welfare (‘and lead us …’) (Matthew 6:11-13). If all this is good enough for Jesus, then it’s good enough for us!

As we look through the Bible, there is an overwhelming breadth of personal needs that people brought to God in prayer: daily provision, finances, health, healing, a marriage partner, children, protection, guidance, direction, understanding, wisdom, forgiveness, strength, boldness, help, victory, rescue … the list goes on and on! When we are sure of our relationship with God, we can be sure that there is absolutely nothing in life that we cannot bring to him.

So, when we come with our requests, let’s pray boldly! Jesus has assured us that it isn’t selfish to pray for ourselves (it becomes selfish when we ­pray only for ourselves and never for others) and he has made it possible for us to ‘approach the throne of God with confidence’ (Hebrews 4:16). So bring bold and big requests to God! Don’t be timid! And don’t settle for praying unfocused prayers that ask for some vague spiritual blessing for the world at large (it’s impossible to know whether such prayers are ever answered!); rather, pray specifically. Remember that both the parable of the neighbour who needed bread (Luke 11:5-10) and the parable of the widow and the judge (Luke 18:1-7) both contained requests for very personal needs. And because the key characters weren’t afraid to keep asking, they received exactly what they needed. So why shouldn’t you?

Come on! Be creative in what you ask your Father for today!

You do not get what you want, because you do not ask God. (James 4:2, NCV)

Copyright © 2017 Martin Manser and Mike Beaumont

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