If you’ve ever flown commercially... you are directed to place the oxygen mask on your own face before you start helping others - including your immediate family members... you may naturally want to start helping others first and then take care of yourself. But, remember, it’s hard to physically help anyone else when you cannot breathe and have collapsed from lack of oxygen. The same is true with regard to prayer.
If you’ve ever flown commercially, you’ve heard the flight attendant give instructions for putting on your oxygen mask in case of an emergency. You are directed to place the oxygen mask on your own face before you start helping others - including your immediate family members - put on their oxygen masks. In a situation like this, you may naturally want to start helping others first and then take care of yourself. But, remember, it’s hard to physically help anyone else when you cannot breathe and have collapsed from lack of oxygen.
The same is true with regard to prayer. It comes so naturally to pray for others, and many times, that’s the first thing you do when you spend time in prayer. As a mom of three daughters, I can quickly begin offering up prayers for each one of them for healing, for wisdom, for provision, for protection, for rest. But how natural is it and how often do you pray for yourself? As a Christian, you have a personal relationship with God and He wants to talk with you about yourself. Just the fact that we are made in the image of God (Genesis 9:6b), and that we have an enemy who wants to tear us down, should keep us in prayer for ourselves.When we cover ourselves in prayer, we are reminded that God is with us, and it’s a beautiful image of hiding ourselves in the safety of his arms. Psalm 91:4 reminds us that, “He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.”
Philippians 4:6 tells us not to be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Praying for yourself begins with self-awareness of what’s going on in your thoughts, your feelings, and your actions. Throughout the Bible, God speaks a lot about our minds, our hearts, and our physical body parts, so let’s look at how we can talk to God about our emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being.
1. Emotional Well-Being Prayer
How are you doing emotionally?
Although emotions can play an important role in how you think and the actions you take, you most likely go through life with little thought about your emotional health. You weather the storms of life, the highs and lows, without ever processing your life events emotionally or taking time to write down your thoughts and feelings during these times. Journaling can be a great tool to get in touch with your thoughts and feelings. When you repress your fearful and negative emotions, it can drain your mental energy and have a negative affect on your body and potentially lead to other health issues. It can help to talk with a Christian counselor or social worker and obtain some tools in order to work through something in your past - a difficult relationship, a traumatic experience, an old wound - or to get some objective advice on a current situation. Also, we all need room in our schedules to breathe, to think, to rest, to play, and to just be. Having this down time to sit, relax, and be still for a while can be beneficial to your emotional health.
What’s going well for you emotionally?
What action do you need to take to improve your emotional health?
What’s coming to the surface for you in this area?
Thank you for this time to talk with you and make my requests known to you. Thank you for the emotions you created in me when you made my inmost being (Psalm 139:13). You know when I’m happy and when I’m sad, when I’m fearful and when I’m angry. Show me what past emotions I need to process, and guide me to seek help from others when needed. Bring healing to areas that are wounded and broken. Help me to notice what emotions surface for me as I go about my day. When negative thoughts creep into my mind, help me replace those thoughts with truth from your Word. Show me how I can move forward to be emotionally healthy and in tune with how you created me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
2. Physical Well-Being Prayer
How are you doing physically?
Your body is a dwelling place of God and you need to care for it (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). When you are not sleeping well, tired all the time and generally not feeling your best, it is difficult to focus on the big picture of your life. You can’t see beyond the issues that you are currently experiencing because you have tunnel vision. Have you been diagnosed with any medical conditions? Are you praying for yourself in these areas? Sometimes you have to think outside the box if you aren’t getting any relief with your current practices regarding your physical health. Something as simple as changing the foods you eat can do a great deal to help with your energy level, digestive health, and mental alertness. Beginning a walking routine can do wonders for your mood and is also a great way to move your body.
What’s going well for you as you care for your physical body?
What changes do you need to make?
What resources can you access to help in this area?
Thank you that my physical body is your dwelling place (1 Corinthians 3:16). Help me be aware of what’s going on in my body. Guide me to a healthcare team that will work with me to care for my body holistically. Give me the opportunity to ask questions and do research to understand how you created my body to function. Help me be intentional to have down time, rest my body, and fill it with things that nourish my mind, my body, and my spirit. Give me a big-picture vision to care for my body so that it will function well as I age. You know the medical conditions I have going on in my body. I lift up these conditions and pray for wisdom and resources to treat these ailments and if it’s your will, Father, for healing. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
3. Spiritual Well-Being Prayer
How are you doing spiritually?
We can live without food, but we cannot live without water. Physically, we cannot live without water, but the Bible refers to God’s Word as the water of life. Psalm 1:2-3 talks about the man who loves the law of the Lord and he meditates on it day and night for guidance on how to live his life. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which produces fruit in season and whose leaves do not wither. Whatever he does prospers. In this Bible verse the tree represents you and me and the streams of water represent God’s Word, so drinking in the Word brings forth fruit and hydrates our spirits.
Memorizing Bible verses is one way to hide God’s Word in our hearts and minds so that we can access it when we have defeating thoughts about who we are as children of God. Having Bible verses about your identity in Christ readily available can be helpful weapons against negative self-talk from Satan.
What’s going well in your spiritual life?
What do you need to change to make reading God’s Word part of your daily life?
How can you meditate on Bible verses throughout your day?
Thank you for your great love for me and for making a way for me to have a relationship with you (1 John 3:1). Thank you for your Word, which is a light to guide me in every area of my life (Psalm 119:105). I surrender to you any area of my life that has darkness, and I trust you to bring light into these dark areas. Thank you that your Word hydrates and refreshes my spirit. Show me ways that I can make reading your Word part of my daily life. As I read your Word, give me understanding so I can fully see and hear what you are saying and apply it to my life. Thank you that your Word provides protection from Satan (Hebrews 4:12) who wages war against me because I am your child. Help me to fill myself up with your Word and use it as a weapon against the enemy. Help me stay focused on you, Heavenly Father. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
(Resource: It is Written - 31 day devotion written by Robert Morris and Marcus Breechen that focuses on the importance of having God’s Word in your life every day)
As you begin to pray for yourself in these areas, remember to not only talk to God but also make space to sit and listen to what He wants to share with you. You can also search for Bible verses about emotional, spiritual, and physical health and use these verses in your prayer time.
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” 1 John 5:14
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Renee Bethel, author of Finding Me: A Woman’s Guide to Learning More About Herself is a Professional Christian Life Coach and a Certified Gospel Centered Enneagram Coach. She helps Christian Female Entrepreneurs and Leaders do their own inner work so they are equipped for building relationships and impact within the Body of Christ. Join her free Facebook community.