I know I can pray for things that matter to me, that are personal, that I want . . . but it’s hard. They’re difficult words for me to say.
When—if—I pray for myself, I string together generalities laced with caveats and disclaimers. But yesterday I cut through the fluff. I asked God to not only meet a need I’ve been praying about for others but to show me if maybe I had a role in it. And asking that meant admitting I wanted to have a role in it. I wanted to be a part. I said the words. Out loud.
In that moment I learned what I already knew: God knows what I want, even if I haven’t voiced it. But He is a patient, patient God. He doesn’t rush to the response before the request.
I cry out in general terms, “have mercy on me!”
But when a blind man uttered the same words, Jesus didn’t heal his specific need in response to his general petition. Jesus knew the unspoken request, yet He asked, “What do you want me to do for you?”
And He waited for Bartimaeus to articulate his deepest desire—”Rabbi, I want to see”—before He healed him.
Jesus’ commentary cuts to the heart of my struggle: “your faith has healed you.”*
Asking for mercy doesn’t take much faith. It’s vague enough to sound spiritual without risking anything. It’s unmeasurable.
Asking for restored eyesight—and believing it will be provided—takes tremendous faith.
It can feel self-centered and selfish to pray for myself. And maybe it is. Yet at the same time I’m afraid I’ll be disappointed if the answer is no, so it feels safer not to ask.
But perhaps praying for myself is less about the size of my ego and more about the depth of my faith.