Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way. (Psalms 139:23-24)
I use to think that it was selfish to pray for myself so I made an effort to pray others at length and myself sparingly. I soon discovered through an African American Spiritual that my sense of humility was seriously misguided. The song’s lyrics testify that God’s intervention is more needed by the one praying than the ones who are being prayed for. “Not my brother, not my sister, but it’s me O Lord, standing in the need of prayer.” As I gave this a little more thought I wondered at my arrogance. I was praying for others as if they were in greater need spiritually than I. Now that was a humbling experience.
When you consider the undertaking of a discipler, it is even more imperative to pray for one’s self. My Bible College Professor once said, “Men, a brain surgeon cracks open a man skull and messes with his brain. That is serious business. But you, my young theologs, are messing with men’s souls.” Now which of the two do you think needs more prayer?
Jesus, the epitome of humility, did not hesitate to pray for Himself. He asked the Father to glorify Him (Jn 17.1, 5), to help Him (Mt 26.39-42), to take care of His spirit (Lk 23.46). He even thanked the Father for hearing His prayers (Jn 11.41). In His instructions on prayer, He teaches His disciples to pray for themselves (“us” is used four times in the Lord’s Prayer: Mt 6.9-13).
The Apostle Paul understood his personal need for prayer and asked the churches to pray for him. And right now, I ask that you pray the same prayer for me and yourselves. Pause for a moment and pray; “Finally, brethren, pray for us that the word of the Lord will spread rapidly and be glorified, just as it did also with you” (2 Thes 3:1).
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