The other morning I woke up and decided to pray before I read my Bible. I usually attempt this to some extent, but I must be quite honest, and say that it is exceedingly difficult for me to do. I can read my Bible and generally maintain focus, but to actually pray and present my requests before God, as the Bible tells us to do repeatedly, is a very difficult task for me. So on this particular Saturday morning, I decided to write my prayer out.
I’ve been in a bit of a funk as of late, and I don’t really know why. During this time I have wrestled with who I am, what my purpose is, and where I am going in life. While struggling through this thought process, I have also been studying the book of Philippians. The message of this letter is captured in the first chapter, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain,” (verse 21). Just like most people, I don’t want my life to be wasted. I want my life to reflect Christ. So in light of those things, this is the prayer I wrote down. Maybe there is something in it that can be of help in your prayers for the coming year:
Thank You for who You are. I thank You for being so enormous and majestic that even the rocks will cry out if need be. I praise You and thank You for the fact that You made creation in such a way that it really does speak so plainly that it is not only a statement of Your existence, but also a declaration of Your glory! I thank You for manifesting Yourself to us through what are called common or general ways. What flimsy words for such marvelous truths are these?
Lord, I pray that You would use me mightily in the proclamation of these truths. You have been so gracious in showing them to me. I cannot keep silent. Make Your voice loud through me. Use me effectively. Work in spite of me, as You so often have done in the past. Mold me. Shape me. Make me more useful for Your work and kingdom.
Lord, I pray for my words both written and spoken. I also pray for my life. I pray that my words would be true to Your character and to Your word, even to the Living Word, Jesus Christ. Allow me to point others to Your clearest revelation to us, that is, Your Son. I pray that I would be unambiguous when I communicate your gospel. May I be so deeply rooted in, soaked in, steeped in, and saturated with Your Word that I may be authoritative. I pray my life would follow Your powerful Word, so that Your grace would continue to be poured out on me by means of sanctification. May it point out, call out and remove my sin. Point me towards You, graciously showing more and more of Your all-consuming beauty. Don’t allow me to desire and to chase trivial things like power, prestige, money, popularity or comfort. Keep ever before me the flightiness of this life and the endurance of You. Be the One who consumes me. Allow me ever to see the joy of exalting and glorifying You, my Savior, Lord and King. I pray this most especially when suffering comes. I thank You that Christ has endured and removed my condemnation and that any trial or suffering that I encounter is not punitive—I know You aren’t getting back at me.
You are sanctifying me and conforming me to the image of Your Son. What a gift this is! Allow me to find my joy in You and not my circumstance. Keep me humbled under Your righteous right hand that in due time I may be lifted up. Allow me to see the suffering in my life as a sculptor’s chisel, a refiner’s fire or as a sanctifying agent. Soften my heart to be the proverbial clay in the potter’s hand. Make my life a megaphone to this world proclaiming Your sufficiency.
I pray You would make me a husband who loves his wife as Christ loves His church. I pray I would indeed give myself up for her, as well. Allow me to dwell with her in an understanding way and teach me to better cherish this wonderful co-heir in the grace of eternal life with whom You have allowed me to walk through this life. Teach me to be a humble servant laying aside my selfish desires. Teach me to be a strong leader fearlessly following You and shepherding my wife appropriately. I pray you would allow me to provide for her well and to take care of her.
You, Lord, are my only hope. Without You I am nothing. Keep this ever before my eyes. Keep me desperate for You. Don’t let me be satisfied with how I’m doing. Don’t allow me to be content with the quality of my walk. Don’t let me feel as if I have arrived. I pray that I would press on toward the goal and that I would be faithful to You.
God, I am needy. This You obviously know since You killed Your Son to pay for my need and You have sent Your Spirit to make me, a dead man, alive.
In the name which is above every name, Jesus Christ,
Here are some passages I suggest reading as you have your morning prayer time—or whenever His Spirit moves you to pray.
1 Corinthians 15
Philippians 1:29, 2:5-11, 3:1, 7-11
1 Peter 2:24, 3:7