The other day my wife Mary told me that she had spoken to someone who had a personal problem. I don’t know what the problem was, but the burden must have been heavy because Mary suggested that the lady ask God for help in solving it. The person replied, “I cannot pray for myself because that would be selfish.”
God bless this woman! God knows that her heart is just because she wants to help others more than help herself. Putting others before us is an act of love, and the Bible tells us “Let everything you do happen in love.” (1 Corinthians 16:14, NRSV).1 It was the apostle Paul who wrote these words and that was not all he said about love. 1 Corinthians 13 is about love and probably the most frequently cited topic in the Bible (see 1 Corinthians 13: 1-13).
Although our Lord expects us to pray for others, He does not expect us to refuse to pray for ourselves. assuming that we should not pray for ourselves is a wrong assumption. He doesn’t want us to hide our own problems and suffer silently, but we want him to recognize our needs.
Some biblical examples of answered personal prayers
There are many examples of personal prayers in the Bible, and we will examine some of them in this short study. So if for any reason you think you would feel guilty about praying for something personal, consider these examples.
King David, the third king of Israel, committed adultery with Bathsheba and then had a man killed to cover his sin. When he recognized the disaster caused by his actions, “he was broken before God and one of the deepest prayers in the Bible, Psalms 51, was written.”2nd God answered his prayer and forgave his sins.
In 1 Samuel, Chapters 1 and 2, Hannah was one of the two wives of a kind man, Elkanah. Hannah had no children and since she couldn’t have a baby, she was considered ashamed and cursed. “She was desperate and she knew that the Lord was the only one who had the strength to give her the heart’s desire. God heard Hannah and her prayer touch the Lord so much that he was moved to give her a child. “3rd That child was Samuel the Prophet.
Even Jesus prayed to his father for personal help. When Jesus was on the Mount of Olives shortly before his crucifixion and knew what tragic personal sacrifice would soon come on him, he prayed fearfully. “Father, if you want, take this cup from me; but not my will, but your will is done. “(Luke 22:42). He struggled with his father’s will and admitted that he was tempted to go no further, but acknowledged his will to persevere if that was God’s wish.4th God wanted him to continue until death, but answered his prayer by sending help in the form of an angel to give him strength and encouragement. –Luke 22:43. Strength and encouragement are things that we all need from time to time. I know that from personal experience, many times.
God knows we need his help
God reveals to us that we are not always able to meet our own needs, and He wants to care for us through our own abilities and grace when we are weak. But beyond that, he created us “with a need for help. Asking for help does not mean admitting failure, but recognizing how God made us. Before the fall in [the] In the Garden of Eden, God created Adam to receive care rather than care for himself. On a material level, God provided all food, water, [and] even his breath. He gave fellowship to Adam through his own presence. “5 More than that, God said, “It is not a good thing that the man is alone; I will make him a helper as a partner. “(Genesis 2:18).
God expects us to seek personal help and even encourages us to do so. And he tells us that if we have faith, everything we ask for in prayer will be provided (Matthew 21:22). He explains that the process is easy too. “Ask, and it will be given to you; Search and you will find; knock and the door will be opened for you. The door is opened for everyone who asks, receives, and anyone who searches, and anyone who knocks. “(Matthew 7: 7-8).
Christians pray for healing, patience, or understanding every day because these things are fully in line with biblical principles. I pray for personal things every day, including wisdom to learn more about God and His plan, or guidance to write these articles accurately and truthfully, or to provide a way to best answer a person’s questions.
That doesn’t mean, of course, that we can be greedy. “Dear God, I want a new Porsche car” is not a prayer that is likely to be granted. However, if you need transportation because your car can no longer be repaired, it is reasonable to pray to God for help in solving this problem. You can get to work and take care of your family. If you’ve lost your job, it’s also wise to ask the Lord to help open another door for a job.
We should also not use prayer to negotiate with God. We can’t do business with him. “Dear God, I go to church every week if you only do me this one favor” is not an appropriate approach for our heavenly Father. It is not a divine way of communicating. It’s easy to do a deal with the devil, but not so with God.
But if you live in faith and love Jesus and want to follow His teaching, there is no reason to refuse to pray for yourself. “Besides the Holy Spirit, nobody knows your heart better than you. Nobody knows your hopes, your fears, your secret sins, your ambitions or your needs better than you. Nobody can influence your word as well or badly as you. So you have to pray for yourself. “6
Should we love each other?
The Bible doesn’t come out and says you have to love yourself, but that’s often implied. When asked which commandment was most important, Jesus replied: The first is: ‘Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. “The second is:” You should love your neighbor as yourself. “There is no other commandment greater than this. “(Mark 12: 29-31).
This scripture does not mean putting ourselves on a pedestal like so many athletes, artists, politicians and other celebrities do. We cannot believe that we are better than others or that we should look down on others. What Scripture means is that we should love God first, and when we do, we should emulate Him and strive to pass this love on to others. Simply put, the more we look inside and love ourselves, the more we can love others and be content with our lives and live in peace. One author put it this way: “We treat others the same way we treat ourselves. And if I’m not sure of my worth, I won’t be sure of others’ worth. “7
No matter what we strive for, we are sinful people and will get into trouble now and then. No matter how hard we try to stay healthy, we get sick occasionally. No matter how hard we try to help, sometimes we are not liked. When these problems and problems come to us, pray for help and it will be given.
My choice of music for this article is “Standing in Need for Prayer”. This is a female-only production of an optimistic Christian song about asking for personal prayer. Selected texts are below and the video is in the list References & references.8th Enjoy!
Not my sister, but me, Lord, stand in prayer.
Not my brother, but it is I, oh Lord, who is in prayer.
Well it’s not my uncle and it’s not my cousin but it is me, sir.
Well it’s not my grandma and it’s not my grandpa but it is me, sir.
It’s me, it’s me Oh sir, it’s me.
Copyright © 2020, Dr. Ray Hermann
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Reference & Notes
- Font quotes come from the New revised standard version of the Bible (NRSV), © 1989 Department of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
- “Answered Prayers in the Bible”, (Pray with me, accessed March 18, 2020), https://www.praywithme.com/answered-prayers-in-the-bible.html
- Mays, James Luther, (ed.), Harper’s Bible Commentary, (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1988), pp. 1040-1041.
- Hoeppner, Aubrey, “Three Reasons Why God Honors Asking For Help” (Unlock the Bible, October 1, 2015), https://unlockingthebible.org/2015/10/three-reasons-why-asking-for-help-is-honoring-to-god/
- Davis, Will, “The Key to Praying for Yourself”, (signpost, September 25, 2012), https://www.guideposts.org/faith-and-prayer/prayer-stories/pray-effectively/the-key-to-praying-for-yourself
- Hunter, Oretha, “Thankful Thought Tuesday: You Are Wonderful”, (Orethapedia, November 12, 2019), https://orethapedia.com/2019/11/12/thankful-thought-tuesday-you-are-wonderful/
- “Standing in Need of Prayer”, Artists: Angela Primm, Tanya Goodman Sykes, Sue Dodge; Album: Women of Homecoming, Vol. 1, (Gaither Music, September 24, 2013) -VIDEO: https://youtu.be/x90HfUJl6eY
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