Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Will Davis Jr.'s new book, Faith Set Free: Pray for Yourself with Reckless Abandon, (Revell, 2009).
You probably pray for other people regularly, but when was the last time you prayed for yourself? It's not selfish to pray for your own needs and desires. It's essential, because the person with the greatest power to help or hinder God's work in your life is you.
Even Jesus prayed for Himself while He was on earth. Praying for yourself will empower you to live the way God wants you to and grow to become more like Jesus along the way.
Here's how you can pray for yourself with reckless abandon:
Pray pinpoint prayers. Pray specific prayers that ask with pinpoint precision for something very particular and discernable from God - based on what He has already promised to do in the Bible. For example, letting the Lord's Prayer be your guide, you can pray for perspective, priorities, provision, pardon, and protection in your own life. A prayer for the right perspective could be: "Lord, let your name be hallowed in my life today." You can ask God to give you the right priorities by praying: "Lord, let your kingdom be established and your will be done in my life today." A possible prayer for provision can be: "Lord, please give me everything I need today." When praying for pardon, you can pray: "Lord, please forgive me today." A prayer for protection can be: "Lord, please keep me from Satan and sin today."
Mine for treasure in the Bible. Look for Scripture passages that will help jumpstart your prayers. Establish a regular time and place to read the Bible, and try to follow a reading plan that works well for you. As you read, look for statements of what you want to be true in your life - promises that connect with your passions. Invite God to speak to you through the text. When trying to distinguish between God's voice and merely your own desires, ask yourself several key questions: "Will this honor God?", "What's my motivation for wanting this?", "Is this consistent with what the Bible as a whole teaches?", and "Would Jesus Himself pray for this?".
Pray to be close to Jesus. Ask God to help you grow close to Jesus and stay in a close relationship with Him. Pray for a hunger for biblical truths, since a steady diet of Scripture will help you remain close to Jesus each day. Ask for the grace to avoid drifting away from faith, the strength to flee temptations and to make sacrifices necessary to stay close to Jesus, and the fresh passion you'll need each day to pursue God's purposes for your life.
Adapted from Faith Set Free: Pray for Yourself with Reckless Abandon, copyright 2009 by Will Davis, Jr. Published by Revell.
Will Davis Jr. (DMin, Southwestern Seminary) is the founding and senior pastor of Austin Christian Fellowship, a nondenominational church in Austin, Texas. He is the author of Pray Big, Pray Big for Your Marriage, Pray Big for Your Child, and Why Faith Makes Sense. An avid hiker, mountain climber, and water-skier, Davis and his wife, Susie, have three children and live in Austin, Texas.