A Prayer for Humility
Dear God, please save me from my pride.
I’ve prayed that prayer many times. And yet somehow, I’m still a proud person. I still try to gain others’ approval over God’s, I still seek to make my own name known rather than God’s, and I still serve my own comforts rather than serving God’s people. Even though everything I have comes from God, and even though God has saved me from an eternity separated from Him, much of the time my world revolves around me. My comfort, my needs, my goals, and my desires trump everyone else—including God.
Even as I sit back and watch pride controlling much of my life, I’m very aware that I’m in critical danger. Pride is a danger. Pride is a perilous enemy. In fact, pride is absolutely devastating because God resists the proud.
James 4:6 Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
I can’t think of anything that would be worse than being actively resisted and opposed by God. And so I pray, “Dear God, please save me from my pride.” Save me because I can’t save myself. Save me because sometimes, I’m too blinded by my own pride to even recognize that I am proud. Save me because I long to have unopposed fellowship with You.
Often, my prayer ends there. But that’s only the place I should start with my prayer. This prayer isn’t complete until I understand that I have a need that is even greater than my desperate need to be rid of my pride.
Dear God, please save me from my pride. And please teach me to be like Jesus.
Jesus is incarnate humility. He who had more glory than I could ever imagine emptied Himself, pouring out His life for the sake of His enemies, even to the point of death.
Philippians 2:5-8 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
There is no greater example of complete and utter humility! When I look at myself and see my pride, in all its horrible manifestations, I can’t respond simply by trying to put off my pride. To do so would be prideful in itself. The cure to pride is not just a new mindset; the cure to pride is a whole new mind—the mind of Christ.
My prayer needs to focus on Jesus so much more than it should focus on myself. Jesus, who left His eternal home. Jesus, who took on the human form in all its limitations, temptations, and pains. Jesus, who lived out a life of complete submission to His heavenly Father. Jesus, who paid the ultimate sacrifice on the cross, suffering in my place for my sins—including my pride.
So when I would rather be comfortable than leave my places of comfort to go serve others, I need to beg God to help me put on the mind of Christ. When I am tempted to avoid situations that will make me weak, situations that may cause me pain, I need to beg God to help me put on the mind of Christ. When I want to live for myself and for my own glory, I need to beg God to help me put on the mind of Christ. And when I would avoid sacrificing myself for others, I need to earnestly beg God to help me put on the mind of Christ.
In every situation of life, when pride begins to dominate once again, and I feel I’ve lost the battle for humility, I need to step back and remember just where true humility comes from. True humility is not the result of defeating pride but of exalting Christ.
Instead of making pride your focus, make Jesus your focus. Let Christ defeat your pride. Humility necessarily follows the person who, by God’s grace, is worshiping at the feet of Jesus instead of at the altar of self.
Dear God, please save me from my pride. But first of all, please teach me to be like Jesus. Please teach me what it looks like to put on the mind of Christ in every area of my pride-ridden life. Let Your glory be my highest goal, and not my own.