*This is the fourth of a series on prayer*
By: Justine Johnson
Imagine that you are in my shoes: you are sitting in an 8:55 morning class, trying not to doze. The teacher could be talking about purple bunnies and white cotton tees for all you know—the only thing on your mind is the overwhelmingly full schedule before you that day. The more you ponder it, the less you can focus on anything in the present.
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6-7). Last time we talked about praying for others; an equally important aspect of prayer is praying for you. You don’t have to be exposed to Christianity very much to know this, but it seems as if this habit has still often been neglected. So why is self-focused prayer sometimes ignored?
There have been many times in my life where I would make my prayer list so long that I would simply cover every name and conclude with “…in Jesus’ Name, amen.” Unfortunately, this is a frequent occurrence for me. I forget to say, “Please help me not to stress over this exam” or “This is really bothering me—I am giving it to You now.” To be honest, most of the time I only say those words when I am most desperate for comfort or stress relief; for example, when I am having a problem with a friend on my wing, but I have to focus my mind on an exam coming up the next morning.
Granted, there is absolutely nothing wrong with praying when you are struggling a great deal. If you are hurting or are in want of guidance, praying will help you to work through your thoughts more rationally. Don’t forget to say, “God, Your will be done,” no matter how serious or simple the subject may be. There will be times that you can speak with more detail, but it is perfectly okay to just end the prayer right there. The Holy Spirit will intercede for you with the words that you cannot humanly express. The most important thing to remember is that God has everything under control and He will take care of you.
One aspect of praying for yourself that is sometimes overlooked is praying when nothing seems to be happening at all. Often we only think to pray when things are going terribly or when they are going terrifically. I am definitely guilty of this—God hears quite a bit from me on my terrible Tuesdays as I rush from class to class or on my wonderful Wednesdays when I stroll across campus only a few times before supper. But what about the days when life is not worth elaborating on?
I try to tell God about the little things that don’t seem important. After all, the best way to build a relationship is communication, regardless of the topic. On top of that, I find it helpful to thank and praise Him for everything, not just the big things.
So is it difficult for you to remember self-focused prayer? If so, join the party—maybe we can work on improving it together. If not, how were you able to make it a habit? Tell us in the comment section below!