One of the key elements in prayer is petitioning, or praying for yourself. Some people shy away from such prayers, thinking that it violates humility and draws attention to themselves rather than God.
Yet, it’s absolutely biblical. In fact, Jesus petitioned the following the night before He was crucified: “Father … glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with you before the world was” (John 17:5).
If Jesus needed to pray for Himself, then I certainly need to pray for myself. That said, ponder these eleven personal requests I’ve started bringing daily to God.
1. Examine me.
I borrowed this one from King David, who asked God to “search him, know him, test him, and see if there was any offensive way” in him (Psalm 139:23, 24). It takes courage to pray in such a way, yet I want the Lord to reveal to me those things that aren’t pleasing to Him.
2. Forgive my sins.
This is the obvious next step after petition #1. I’m wasting my time praying if I’m not willing to make confession a part of the process (Psalm 66:18). Once I‘ve sought and received His forgiveness (1 John 1:9), I’m on praying ground, washed and cleansed, ready to proceed.
3. Fill me with Your Spirit.
When renowned preacher/evangelist D.L. Moody was asked why he constantly sought a filling of the Spirit, he responded, “Because I leak.” I was baptized with the Spirit when saved, a reality that never needs to be repeated. Yet, like Moody, I leak. I need to be continually filled (Ephesians 5:18), especially for times of special service and ministry.
4. Restore and strengthen me.
Ministry can suck the life right out of us, creating a state of despondency and weariness (Isaiah 40:30). Like David, I ask God to “Restore to me the joy of your salvation” (Psalm 51:12). Also, I include myself in on God’s promise to His people, through the prophet Ezekiel: “I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh (36:26).
5. Grant me wisdom.
I have plenty of information at my disposal. What I need is wisdom – Godly wisdom – the kind that comes from above. We live in an age in which information abounds and wisdom seems nearly extinct. Thankfully, He’s happy to share it with us, “generously to all without finding fault,” if only we will ask (James 1:5).
6. Protect my mind.
Knowing I am what I think (Proverbs 23:7), I want to think good stuff. And I certainly need God’s help in doing so. Since we have the Holy Spirit living in us, we have access to the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). We dare not remain passive in the process, however. Daily, I pray that my carnal mind would be suppressed and Christ’s mind would reign supreme.
7. Stifle Satan.
Satan hates everything to do with what I’ve just written above. He’s lost the eternal war but will do everything in his power to win the battle for our minds. I pray for the daily strength to resist him so that he will flee (James 4:7). Like Jesus, I sometimes speak to him directly, demanding that he “get thee behind me” (Matthew 16:23).
8. Suppress unbelief and supply faith.
Such battles must never be entered alone. Like the father of the demon possessed boy, I must ask Jesus to “help me overcome my unbelief” (Mark 9:24). Like the fledging disciples, we need to ask the Lord to “increase our faith” (Luke 17:5).
9. Guard my behavior.
The last thing I want to do is to be a stumbling block to those around me (1 Corinthians 10:32), especially the lost. Therefore, I pray that the Lord would “lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from the evil one (Matthew 6:13), protecting me from and guarding me against bad attitudes and choices.
10. Arrange significant divine appointments.
Over the years, this verse has become increasingly significant to me: “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps” (Proverbs 16:9). My daily desire is to follow God’s schedule. Since He often gives spontaneous direction, I must allow margin in order for Him rearrange my schedule. I pray especially that He would lead me regularly into opportunities for evangelism and encouragement.
11. Enlarge my sphere of influence.
I’m taking this final petition right out of Jabez’s playbook. Like this Old Testament mystery man, I’m continually asking that “bless me and enlarge my territory” (1 Chronicles 4:10). According to Jack Taylor in PRAYER: Life’s Limitless Reach, this means “extended responsibility, lengthened influence, heightened opportunity.” For the glory of God, that’s the kind of desire for blessing and expansion of ministry and I’m continually seeking.
Petitioning is only one spoke in the prayer wheel. Certainly, it shouldn’t take precedent over praising God and interceding for others. Yet, in my remaining time on this fallen planet, I intend to take full responsibility for and advantage of every opportunity when it comes to praying for myself.