The one thing that quickly turns me into a prayer warrior is germs. My anxiety around sickness sends me straight to my knees. If my children complain their stomachs hurt or a virus is going around, I get proactive with my prayers.
And this week been a prayerful one for me.
A nasty virus started with our youngest child and quickly worked its way through almost every member of the family. Paul’s advice to “pray without ceasing” came naturally for me this week. I stayed awake around-the-clock for two days caring for my sick children and husband. However, in all my communication with the Lord, I couldn’t help but wonder,
Why Am I Praying?
Of course, God can quickly heal my family and strengthen me to handle everything, but that doesn’t explain why my prayer life takes on a whole new form when I find myself in anxious situations. Could it be that even though I’m praying for my children to be healthy, I’m praying exclusively for my benefit? Perhaps I am selfish in my prayers. I want my kids well because I don’t do a great job handling them when they are not. My prayers for my children have less to do with them and are more for me and my comfort.
I tend to be the reason for most of the prayers I say for others.
I might word prayers so that they sound like they are for someone else, but really, they are for me. Viewing prayer as a security blanket or a lucky rabbit’s foot can sometimes be my motivation rather than enjoying a conversation with the Creator or seeing how He wants to work in my life. This is true in the prayers I say for everyone — especially my husband.
Praying for Jason to be safe or have a good day is more about me not wanting to take the time I’ll need to encourage or care of him if he doesn’t. When I pray for God to bless and strengthen him, it is so that I can benefit from his favor. When I pray for my husband to be a man of integrity and remain faithful to me, it is so that I don’t have to deal with the hurt or pain if he doesn’t. The driving force for my prayers is my convenience. The more I examined why I am praying, the more apparent it became that I am a self-centered prayer warrior.
I need to pray for my husband’s benefit.
Not my own.
Jesus demonstrated this beautifully when, towards the end of his life, he prayed for the church in John 17,
I ask on their behalf…
Jesus prayed on behalf of others, not himself.
Throughout the new testament, Paul also demonstrates this other-centeredness in his prayers as he tells the believers what he is praying for them. His prayers are for their faith and for them to grow in the Lord. It is not to make his job easier or for him to look better through their actions.
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. ~Colossians 1:9-12
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. ~Ephesians 3:16-19
I want to pray for my husband on his behalf just as Jesus prayed for me. Beseeching the Lord for my husband as Paul did for the early Christians will improve my prayer life and strengthen my love for my man. I need to rid my prayers of myself so that I am I’m praying for God’s will rather than my own.
How have you overcome praying for your comfort and convenience?