Such a simple idea, but there are so many books written on how to pray, when to pray, why to pray, where to pray… yet we still feel like we haven’t figured it out. At least I don’t.
The other day a preacher at our church made a profound illustration. So simple, but it impacted my thinking on prayer.
He asked us to think about this:
We’re supposed to put everyone else first, right? Priority of our respect and honor should be God first, then our spouse, then children, then church family/friends, then all the other things and people and issues in our life… and we ought to esteem ourselves last, right? Right. So then, what issues do we pray for first each day?
My Prayer Life Priorities
I realized that much of my prayer life is characterized by selfishness.
I constantly start prayer with myself.
My prayers for others can be too shallow. Either I’m too tired by the time I get around to praying for other people, or I haven’t gotten to know other people well enough to pray for them fully.
My prayers for leaders tend to be motivated by what I want.
Typically, if you’re anything like me and the rest of us in that room, we realized we pray for ourselves first. What are our needs, what are our concerns, what complaints and issues do we want resolved… I – I – I. It’s me first in my prayers.
Not that we should not ask for our own needs—because the Bible is clear that God wants us to ask for what we need too—but the order of our prayer, that’s important.God wants us to ask for what we need too – but the order of our prayer, that’s important. Click To Tweet
I figure that when God points out something wrong with ourselves, we ought to study further to see what God says about how to fix it.
God gave very clear principles for us to guide our lives by. It’s just that so often we apply those principles to certain aspects of our day and then forget to apply them to others.
3 Things To Remember When Praying For Others
1). Pray for others’ needs first
So the first basic principle is setting others at a higher priority than myself. When I apply this principle to prayer, I immediately see a glaring hole in how I’ve prayed in the past, but I also see a very simple fix to this hole. Just start praying for other people’s needs and problems first.
2). Get to know others’ burdens
The second step follows that one pretty closely. In order to have other people to pray for, I’ll need to get to know them in a meaningful way. Find out what their burdens are, be willing to listen and not immediately try to offer a solution. Offer instead to pray for that need, then sit down and pray about it. Think about them first when I sit down to pray later. It’s simple but it changes the entire attitude surrounding prayer.
3). Pray for God’s will, Not Yours
The last is just more of the same. When I pray for others, am I praying in a selfish way? We think of selfishness as wishing negative on someone else, but that’s not always the case. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting we pray for negative things to happen. But do I pray for people so that my life will grow easier? Do I pray for my government leadership to do the things I want them to do? Or am I praying for leaders who are led by God? Am I praying for the pastor and his family to have wisdom? Or am I praying that they do something special for me?
Join the Conversation
Do you see any other ways we can improve our time talking to God?
We’d love to hear from you. Join the conversation in the comments below.What are you priorities in prayer? Have you ever stopped to think about it? Click To Tweet
Related Resource For Christian Women
There are probably a million books on prayer available, but we wanted to take a moment to share this one. It was written by Stephanie Carter, one of our Candid Gals, and it’s more than a book on prayer. Stephanie invites readers to sit down with God, open the Bible, and have a Quiet Conversation. Available on Amazon