How to Pray for Yourself with Reckless Abandon
- 2009 23 Jun
Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Will Davis Jr.'s book, Faith Set Free: Pray for Yourself with Reckless Abandon, (Revell, 2009).
You probably pray for other people regularly, but when was the last time you prayed for yourself? It’s not selfish to pray for your own needs and desires. It's essential, because the person with the greatest power to help or hinder God's work in your life is you.
Even Jesus prayed for Himself while He was on earth. Praying for yourself will empower you to live the way God wants you to and grow to become more like Jesus along the way.
Here's how you can pray for yourself with reckless abandon:
Pray pinpoint prayers. Pray specific prayers that ask with pinpoint precision for something very particular and discernable from God – based on what He has already promised to do in the Bible. For example, letting the Lord’s Prayer be your guide, you can pray for perspective, priorities, provision, pardon, and protection in your own life. A prayer for the right perspective could be: “Lord, let your name be hallowed in my life today.” You can ask God to give you the right priorities by praying: “Lord, let your kingdom be established and your will be done in my life today.” A possible prayer for provision can be: “Lord, please give me everything I need today.” When praying for pardon, you can pray: “Lord, please forgive me today.” A prayer for protection can be: “Lord, please keep me from Satan and sin today.”
Mine for treasure in the Bible. Look for Scripture passages that will help jumpstart your prayers. Establish a regular time and place to read the Bible, and try to follow a reading plan that works well for you. As you read, look for statements of what you want to be true in your life – promises that connect with your passions. Invite God to speak to you through the text. When trying to distinguish between God’s voice and merely your own desires, ask yourself several key questions: “Will this honor God?”, “What’s my motivation for wanting this?”, “Is this consistent with what the Bible as a whole teaches?”, and “Would Jesus Himself pray for this?”.
Pray to be close to Jesus. Ask God to help you grow close to Jesus and stay in a close relationship with Him. Pray for a hunger for biblical truths, since a steady diet of Scripture will help you remain close to Jesus each day. Ask for the grace to avoid drifting away from faith, the strength to flee temptations and to make sacrifices necessary to stay close to Jesus, and the fresh passion you’ll need each day to pursue God’s purposes for your life.
Pray for instant obedience. Ask God to help you obey right away whenever He commands you to do something. Don’t negotiate, debate, or stall; simply obey God’s calls as soon as possible. Pray for the courage to drop whatever you’re doing when God calls and follow Him.
Pray for a guarded mouth. Ask God to help you speak only words that are pleasing to Him and avoid speaking in sinful ways that disappoint Him and hurt others. Remember that harmful words (such as lies, insults, and curses) can’t be recalled once you’ve let them out of your mouth. Pray that you’ll think about your words before you say them, and wisely choose which ones to express. Ask God to protect you and others from the destructive power of negative words. Pray for the ability to regularly speak positive words that reflect God’s grace.
Pray for a generous spirit. Ask God to help you express your gratitude for the blessings He has given you by giving generously to others. Pray that your giving will give people hope and encouragement, while also honoring God. Look for opportunities to give extravagantly. Pray that your giving will inspire the people who receive from you to praise God.
Pray for spiritual authority. Ask God to help you access all the power He has made available to help you fight Satan. Call upon Jesus’ power to defend you from evil’s attacks on your life. Pray for the discernment you need to recognize Satan’s schemes and the wisdom to know how to oppose them. Ask God to show you which areas of your life you may have yielded to Satan without knowing it; then to help you get rid of those strongholds and bring every thought under God’s authority. Pray for the courage you need to resist Satan by commanding him to leave you.
Pray for your faith. Ask God to increase your faith. Pray that your belief in His presence and power will be conduit for His supernatural work in and through you. Ask God to help you overcome your fears and doubts, to trust Him even though you can’t see Him now, and to fill you with the Holy Spirit as you place your faith in Him.
Pray for your courage. Ask God for the courage t honor God, even if it means you lose favor with people; practice immediate obedience, even if it will cause difficulty for others; speak God’s truth and share His love with others when given the opportunity; confess your own sins and seek the forgiveness of others when necessary; be authentic in relationships and not to hide your feelings; stand for what’s right and true, even if it means standing alone; and go where God leads you, do what God tells you, and become what God is calling you to be, even if it it’s way beyond your comfort zone.
Pray for yourself to decrease and Jesus to increase in you. Ask God to help you surrender your ego and personal agenda to God’s purposes for your life. Pray for freedom from the desire to gain glory for yourself from your work in God’s kingdom; focus on humbly serving in whatever ways will bring God the glory. Ask God to help you be content doing any type of task that He calls you to do. Pray that you would never boast except in Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for you.
Learn the Bible well. Enhance your prayers by saturating your soul in Scripture so it will naturally come to mind when you pray. Read the Bible often, meditate on it, and memorize it.
Practice spiritual breathing. Praying should become as natural to you as breathing. The more you learn to pray with ease and consistency, the more you’ll find that you’re filled with the Holy Spirit. Exhale by confessing the sins that pollute your soul and seeking God’s forgiveness, healing, and restoration. Then inhale by asking God to fill you with the Holy Spirit, which gives you spiritual life. Practice your spiritual breathing regularly throughout each day so you don’t get too much junk accumulating in your soul or go too long without the Holy Spirit empowering you.
Practice fasting. Adding fasting to your prayers humbles you, increases your mental and spiritual awareness, shows God that you’re serious about what you’re praying for, and helps you better tune into what God wants to tell you. Pray for the desire to fast. Read about fasting, ask some friends to pray for you as you fast, start small, and give yourself some grace throughout the process.
Worship often. Ask God to give you a strong desire to worship Him. Praise God regularly for who He is and what He has done for you. Pray for God to set your heart free to love and adore Him.
Adapted from Faith Set Free: Pray for Yourself with Reckless Abandon, copyright 2009 by Will Davis, Jr. Published by Revell.
Will Davis Jr. (DMin, Southwestern Seminary) is the founding and senior pastor of Austin Christian Fellowship, a nondenominational church in Austin, Texas. He is the author of Pray Big, Pray Big for Your Marriage, Pray Big for Your Child, and Why Faith Makes Sense. An avid hiker, mountain climber, and water-skier, Davis and his wife, Susie, have three children and live in Austin, Texas.
Original publication date: June 23, 2009