Friday pray along: selfish prayers

When I began this weekly prayer request two weeks ago, something has been on my mind that I've been trying to find a way to form into words. I'm not a theologian by any stretch of the imagination and I am sadly not as familiar with The Bible as I'd like to be. However, based on what I do know I have some observations about prayer that I think are worth sharing, and I'd love to hear your thoughts on this as well.

There seems to be a sort of pattern I have noticed in any group I've been a part of that does prayer requests: people rarely ask for prayers for themselves or others unless there is a specific illness, catastrophe or difficult period in their lives. There are the occasional prayers of thanks for something wonderful that has happened, but mostly it's intentions for something worrisome or tragic. Don't get me wrong, I think those things are absolutely important and should have as many people as possible lifting them up in their hearts to The Lord.

But I wonder why we don't also ask for prayers for ourselves when there isn't anything sad or hard happening to us or those we love. Is it because we feel like we shouldn't burden others' prayers with things that aren't urgent or seemingly hopeless? Is it because we think someone else out there has it worse than us or those we know so we should sit back and wait for more difficult cases to be brought to our attention?

I think for a long time I felt that way. I think that when I had lulls in my prayer life it was because everything appeared to be pretty good so I didn't have any significant worries. If someone asked me to pray for them I would, but I felt like I didn't need to bother God with any intentions that weren't dramatic. And I certainly didn't ever ask anyone else to pray for me unless I had something deeply pressing on my soul.

The more I think about it, the more I think that this must deeply sadden Our Father, that we only want to come to Him with the most depressing things in life. He created us in His image and wants us to strive to me more like Him in our lives. Shouldn't that include asking for help with the most mundane tasks or that He simply work on our hearts for whatever small gifts we need (such as patience, energy, understanding, etc.)? I think it's easier to ask for such things in our personal prayers, but what about others' prayers for us?

Perhaps we feel too vulnerable opening up to someone else about our deeply personal needs, and even those that aren't so deep. I know that I feel uncomfortable doing so, however I think it is an interesting challenge and one I would like to take on--to be more honest and open with those in my life who ask if there is something I want them to pray for. Sure, please pray for the people I love who are struggling. I will most certainly share those requests (those are the easy ones), but I am also going to try and tack onto the end of my list a little prayer for me, even if it seems selfish. Because if we come to The Lord on our knees with true and pure intentions in our hearts, is there really such a thing as a selfish prayer?        

This week I invite you to tackle this challenge along with me. If you don't yet feel comfortable that's fine, and I still would like to know what prayers you have for troublesome situations that are burdening you. I want this to be a space free from judgement where we can lay down a little piece of ourselves so that others may rejoice with us, cry with us or help carry us along.

Here's how it works: Leave a prayer request in the comments on Friday's posts. It can be anything--something you are thankful for, a friend you are worried about, a desire from your heart... Anything. By leaving a comment you are also committing to pray for others who comment as well. We'll start fresh each week. That's it. You can even be anonymous if you wish.

Today I ask for prayers that my sister Em find success and fulfillment in the venture of her very first booth at a craft fair. It's so hard to start something new and she has taken a leap of faith in so many ways this past year. I pray that she may feel content with her new life and that this may be the start of something wonderful for her future.

I also ask for prayers that I may find joy in the little things I do around the house. Sometimes (OK, a lot of times) I feel bitter and annoyed when I'm doing the laundry or washing the dishes, thinking that I never get enough of a break. I pray that God would send down His Holy Spirit to enter my heart and fill me with love and understanding that whatever I do to take care of those around me, I am also doing to the glory of God.

What is on your heart this week?


Kate said...

Sara, Thank you so much for addressing this topic of "selfish" prayers. I think we all need to be reminded sometimes that God does want to hear whatever is on our hearts and minds - even if to us it seems selfish or trivial.

I have really been struggling with idleness lately. Seth preached about it last Sunday and our high school youth group did a Bible study on laziness Sunday night and both of those experiences really opened my eyes to the fact that I have really been using "I just need to relax, unwind, and take a break after my long day at work" as an excuse to be lazy, idle, and blow of my responsibilities at home. Not okay. Please pray that God would fill me with energy and motivation to meet the needs of my home and husband before I give in to my desire to "relax and unwind".

Kate said...

Oh! and I also want to thank everyone who prayed for me last week - the first meeting of the "Proverbs 31 Women's Group" on Monday night was an absolute success! We ended up talking for over 3 hours until our husbands started texting us wondering if we were ever coming home! Praise God for answered prayers!

Anonymous said...


This was the first time I have been able to take a moment and read your blog and what wonderful timing. I loved it, you have an amazing spirit and I am blessed to know you. These messages resonate with me. I am in need of prayers regarding my work. My work has always been such a huge part of my life and I need to have purposeful, peaceful work. That allows me to live my big dreams and have time for people I value in my life. I am asking God to send me beautiful new opportunities. I aslo would love to begin a family and I would be so thankful if people would pray for that I may bring children into my family. Thank you Sara! I look forward to praying for everyone this week!


Christy Burch

Anonymous said...

Happy Friday. I am asking that you join me in prayer for myself as I ask the Lord to give me strength as I struggle with patience in dealing with the care of my parents. I'm trying, but it is a difficult time for me. I asked this a few weeks back too. I am also getting ready to move my nana into a nursing home and this too weighs so heavy on my heart. I just want some strenght and patience to help me along. I love them all so much. I don't want the occasional frustration and sadness to spoil our beautiful relationships. Thank you all. God Bless and I pray for you as well.

Dennis said...

I'm dealing with multiple situations from a church trying to get a pastor who can't afford it to a mom with an 8 year old son whose husband left (after the police came on a DV call) and filed for divorce. With Thanksgiving and Advent around the corner, I could use prayers for strength and endurance. Thanks.

Lee Zuhars said...

I want to say that I am so blessed!!!! Praise God from whom all blessings flow. I have been blessed beyond compare this year. I got a raise in a time when people are losing their jobs. I bought a house. I have a wonderful church family who supports me more than I could ever have imagined. My parents are living close by when for the past 20-something years they were 7000 miles away. I am closer to the Lord than I have ever been. So I guess, Sara, what you said today is what I have been feeling also. I am so blessed so how could I ask others to pray for me? What could I possibly need, right? I have been praying for myself to be a blessing to those around me so that they see Jesus in me. I pray that I will be a good steward with everything that the Lord has blessed me with. Won't you pray these same things for me also? I thank you.

Shawna said...

Sara, thanks for tackling this topic. When I pray, I try to include praise for God and his vast awesomeness before I set into my requests. But, I also find that I pray more when I'm especially burdened. Right now, I need prayer for my memory. I feel so distracted all the time that so much slips my mind. It is becoming really frustrating! Also, I would like prayer regarding my "sanity" as we build our home. I feel very selfish for this...I keep thinking that "choosing the right brick color is not a life and death're making too much of it," but it IS important to me. I don't want people to see me unappreciative of the blessing I have, but these decisions do stress me out. I appreciate that you've given me the opportunity to express this, and am so thankful that our loving Father understands all our human frailties and loves us anyway! Thanks guys! I'll be with each of you in prayer!


Shawna said...

P.S....I can also really relate to the concern about "idleness." Sometimes with me, I think that I just feel so overwhelmed with all that there is to do, that I choose to do nothing at all! Not the best solution, as this leads to more to do!

sara said...

Although my replies are sometimes delayed, my prayers certainly haven't been. I hope you all feel lifted up and supported through this process. I know I do. Love to you all this Thanksgiving week!