Because I can be horribly uncreative with my prayer time, I like to step back and pray through scripture. It takes me away from the “I want, I need, please give me” pattern that I tend to fall into, and helps me really focus on scripture, on praising God for his character, and praying something that I know He agrees with. The scripture says if we ask anything according to His will, He hears it (1 John 5:14-15). Since the scripture explicitly tells me what His will is for my life, I know He will hear this.
So here’s how I’m praying through Romans 12:9-18:
Let love be without hypocrisy.
Lord, help me to love people purely and unselfishly, without self-centeredness. Help me to love people without thinking about what they do or don’t do for me. Help me to love others the way you have first loved me – not based on merit, but simply because that’s what you called me to do. Because they’re loved by you, so I should show them that same love.
Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.
Lord, help me to stay sensitive to the things I should avoid. Help me to run from sin and to crave what is good. Help me not to compromise.
Give preference to one another in honor
Help me to put others first, instead of myself. Help me to remember that the world doesn’t revolve around me.
Not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.
Lord, sometimes I get tired. Or burned out. Please renew my spirit and my desire to serve you and your people. Help me to stay focused, and excited, and passionate about telling others about you, and what you have done for me. Please show me new ways that I can serve you. Please find me a place.
Rejoicing in hope
Oh Lord, I know that no matter how difficult life becomes, you are King, you are in charge, and you are coming back. I can’t wait for the day I get to see you face to face… oh how I long for that moment. May I continue to remember the hope I have even on my darkest days. Please make my hope contagious.
Persevering in tribulation
Lord, I’m a huge wimp. Please make me strong under pressure. I know I can do all things through you, who gives me strength. Help me to live like that is true.
Devoted to prayer
Thank you for the mighty honor I have in coming to you, anytime I want, in prayer. May I never take it for granted. Just as I want you to strengthen me in other areas, I ask that you strengthen my prayer life. May I pray in a way that brings you more honor, more glory. Grant me the faith to pray without ceasing. I want to hear from you. I want our time together to be rich.
Contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality
Open my eyes to the needs of those around me. Give me a generous spirit. Help me to remember that everything I have belongs to you, including my home, and my checkbook. Help me to be unselfish with my resources.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
Lord, this is so hard for me. Just as you have given me forgiveness that I did not deserve, I know I owe that to others. But especially in the moment, it’s so hard for me to bless someone who is persecuting me. And the persecution I suffer is so much smaller than what Christians around the world face in your name. Lord, please help me in this – I cannot do it except through you. Soften my heart – replace my heart of stone with a heart of flesh.
Rejoice with those who rejoice
Lord, may I not be jealous. Help me to be genuinely happy for others who receive your blessings.
Weep with those who weep
Lord, grant me sensitivity and the right words to say to people as they mourn. I ask that you use me as your tool to bring peace to folks who desperately need it.
Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation.
On most days, I want the world to revolve around me. Help me to shed the self-importance and judgment and to see people for who they are – someone who is loved by you, regardless of what they look like, or act like, where they live or what they do. Help me to treat everybody the same. Help me to be humble – a scary request, but one that I obviously need.
Never pay back evil for evil to anyone.
Help me to be quick to forgive, and quicker to ask for forgiveness.
Respect what is right in the sight of all men.
Help me to make decisions that glorify you and don’t make others stumble. I know others are watching me, and I ask that you help protect me from making decisions that could adversely affect someone else. Help me to crave what is good.
If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.
Lord, help me to leave peaceably with others. Help me to guard my tongue and my actions so that I don’t cause trouble. Help me to give others the benefit of the doubt when they make mistakes, since that’s what I want from others for myself. Help me to remember that the stakes are high and that my pride is not worth disappointing you.
Don’t you just love Romans? And now you know why it’s one of my favorites.