Long ago, I prayed my heart out for the man I married concerning anything and everything most especially that he would stop hurting me and start treating me the way I felt I should be treated, that he would stop abusing prescription drugs, that he would put an end to any and all sexual immorality, that he would go to church with me where I wanted to go to church, that he would get help for our marriage with me from the people I felt would be best to counsel us, and that he would have loving, encouraging Christian men in his life to walk alongside him and help him.
What I could not see at the time and truthfully couldn’t see until the marriage was over and he ultimately divorced me was that my heart, mouth, and actions were filled with sickening sin even as I pointed the finger steadfastly at him and blamed him for all our troubles and my personal misery. And I couldn’t for the life of me see how wickedly selfish my prayers were. See, the ultimate goal of my prayers was that I would have the love and marriage I wanted. I was filled with pride beyond measure and was blinded by self so much so I just couldn’t see or believe I was doing almost anything wrong! When in fact my heart and life were filled with sin!
By God’s love, grace, and mercy alone, though we divorced, the Lord led us both to repentance for all our wrongdoing, forgave us both, and blessed us with a beautiful and strong godly love between us. Shortly before my ex-husband’s death, from what I was told, he fully committed his life to the Lord Jesus Christ. I am reminded of a message the Lord gave me during our separation prior to the divorce.
The Lord impressed upon me that if I really loved my then husband as I professed to do, that I would care more about his relationship with the Lord than about my getting to live happily ever after in a beautiful godly marriage with him as I so desperately wanted. My selfish prayers were borne from my self-centered heart, and the Lord in his message to me made abundantly clear I needed a change in heart. I needed serious repentance!
God’s greatest commands are to love Him with all our hearts and to love others as ourselves. Our prayers should reflect this. Even when we pray for ourselves, our prayers should still reflect above all else a love for the Lord and others. And that we would live to love and glorify Him and to help others to find and follow Him. That anything we desire in prayer for ourselves should have the ultimate goal of our bringing more love and glory to the Lord and our being of love and service to others as He so desires.
The Lord has changed my heart, and my prayers have changed in the process.
Hope this message will encourage you to examine your heart and prayers and to make any changes necessary that your prayers will not be selfish as mine so despicably were and instead will reflect a heart for the Lord and others, AMEN!
Oh, Father, forgive us all for when we are selfish and self-centered and living for self instead of for you as you command us to do! Help us not to be selfish in any way, dear Lord, including in our prayers. Your mercy astounds me, and it is available to us when we believe in you, Jesus, as Lord, and in your death and resurrection, and seek your forgiveness, oh Lord. Lord, please help us all to examine how we have been praying and to see if you desire any changes in how we pray. Not to mention in our thoughts, words, and actions, show us if we are displeasing you in the way of selfishness or anything at all. Help us to grow in your image, Lord, as you conform us to yourself. Do not leave us as we are. Continue to change us day by day that we are more and more pleasing and honoring to you, dear Father, AMEN!
Please note in the verse below the focus is on loving one another – not on loving self! We are to love the Lord and love others! May our prayers reflect this love not of self but of Christ and others.
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7