Lord Make me like You - praying for Spiritual Growth
How often do you pray for your own Spiritual Growth?
I am more and more convinced that this is something we should do on a daily basis.
Here are some reasons why we should:
We pray for other people's spiritual growth (Paul prayed powerfully for the Colossians in Col 1:9-12), so why not pray for our own spiritual growth. After all, we pray for our own physical healing.
In the Lord's prayer we pray about God's work in the world (.. your kingdom come ... on earth) and part of that is God's work in us (Phil 1:6)
There are examples in the Gospels of people asking Jesus to help them grow:
the disciples asked for Jesus to teach them to pray (Luke 11:1), and
the father of the child possessed by an evil spirit said to Jesus 'I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief' (Mark 9:24).
It is an expression of our discipleship - discipleship is all about becoming more like Jesus and as long as our prayer for spiritual growth is inspired by a vision of who Jesus is, there is no danger of it becoming self centred.
It helps us to take seriously the lessons God is teaching us from the Kairos moments of life. If God has challenged us about our anger or impatience, praying regularly for God to work in that area of our lives is an important part of our response.
What should we pray for?
There is a simple chorus from the 1970's that starts with the line "Lord, make me like you, please make me like you". Fundamentally all of our prayers for personal spiritual growth should be an expression of these words. However, your prayer should be more specific for your life AND should change and evolve over time as you see growth in those areas of your life and God opens up new areas for growth.
We have talked about discipleship as growing in the With, Like, and For God life. So I would recommend that you prayerfully think about how you would like to grow in each of these areas in the next 6 months.
If in six months time:
you lived more of the moments of your life in conscious awareness of being WITH God, what would it look like?
more of your character was LIKE Jesus, what character traits would be more evident?
you were more effective in living FOR God in local mission, what would you be doing differently?
Make some notes in each of these areas and then fashion them into a prayer.
Your prayer should be short enough that you can remember it easily and pray it regularly.
For example, at the moment I am praying:
WITH - Lord help me to have an inner stillness so I can hear you more clearly - particularly in the area of our relationship
LIKE - Lord help me to respond more and more to the promptings of the Spirit rather than the desires of my body
FOR - Lord help me to ask for and receive insight and direction for my local mission efforts.
Two final thoughts:
Make a plan about when you will go through this process again and update your prayer. You might even put a reminder in your calendar.
Think about swapping your prayer with one other person so you can encourage each other by praying in agreement for each other.