My Burden

A great, wise, inspirational, simple, life-changing, powerful, Bible believing, omnipotent, Pastor once said, “We pray for what we are most burdened for.”

Okay… so maybe he isn’t omnipotent; but all the others can stay.  The Pastor who said this was none other than Andy Stanley, the leadership guru.

This quote hit me hard, and after I picked myself up off the floor, it began to make the wheels turn in my head.  If we pray for what we are most burdened for… everyone must be really “self-centered”!  I don’t know if this is true for you, but almost every prayer request I ever hear is about the person themselves, or someone close to them (and I am not excluded!).

Crazy to think how selfish we really are isn’t it? Even corporate prayer in churches seems to be bent toward selfish motives.  How often do we hear a prayer that does not say one thing about providing for ourselves?

Now are there exceptions?  Sure.  There is an exception to almost every rule.  But that’s just it; it’s the exception.  Others may also argue that God taught us to pray for ourselves!  Just read the way Jesus taught his disciples to pray in Matthew 6:7-15!  But this objection too is flawed in a sense.  Jesus taught us to pray for God’s kingdom first and foremost.  If we really listen to the majority of our prayers, we do not give any real time to God, it’s all centered around what God needs to do for me and my friends.

I may have ticked a couple of you off with my evaluation of Matthew 6; just please hear me out and don’t turn off just yet.

I am not trying to throw out praying for ourselves or our friends at all.  I just hope that it makes you think and inspires you to re-evaluate your own prayer life.

“Pray, then, in this way:
‘Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
‘Your Kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.”


“‘Give us this day our daily bread.
‘And forgive us our debts, as we also
Have forgiven our debtors.
‘And do not lead us into temptation, but
Deliver us from evil.”


“For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.  Amen.’”

(Matthew 6:9-13, NASB)

My hermeneutics teacher, Dr. Fowler, taught us the principle that by loving others we are then, in essence, not loving ourselves.  When we choose to focus on God and others, we then become less self-focused.  How often do we pray to God and tell him how awesome he is?  How often do we pray for our government?  How often do we pray for our unsaved neighbors?  How often do we pray for our enemies?  How often do we take the focus off of ourselves and pray for others that have no way of paying us back?  How often are we praying for others that we aren’t connected to?

“We pray for what we are most burdened for.”

What are you most burdened for?  Do you need an adjustment?


5 thoughts on “My Burden

  1. I agree that we often don’t focus enough on God in our prayers (mine included), so this is a good reminder.

    But I also don’t think we spend enough time focusing on confessing our sin and then listening to how God wants us to change. If the latter is true, then I believe that a personal focus is healthy and necessary for spiritual growth and intimacy with God. It is just that that personal focus should not always be about God removing my pain but instead God permitting pain that might come from His spiritual challenges and convictions in my life.

  2. Yes, I agree. Both focusing on God and the practice of confession and repentance are missed in our prayers and should make up the vast majority of them.

  3. Gary says:

    I agree with the sin of a “self-focused” life, and the priority of “loving others”, but I take exception with the idea of “not loving ourselves.” If God finds value in us and loves us deeply, there is no sin in also loving ourselves (finding value in who we are as a treasured creation of God). I think there is cause for concern when a Christ-follower refuses to love himself. Despising self is not a spiritual virtue. It’s insulting to God. The problem is in being self-consumed. “Loving” self and “catering” to self are two separate, and contrasting, ideas.

  4. davitra20 says:

    This is good stuff. Think of Paul and the prayers that are in his letters, for the other churches. He was in prison, he was to busy praying for what was going on outside of the walls and not what was going on in the walls. Maybe he was doing this because he knew that he only had a few more days,weeks,or months to live so that really boosted up his prayer life. What would happen if we prayed like Paul, pray as in our lives are about to end I will no longer have an impact but I can pray for people and institutions that will have a burning impact long after I am gone.

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