I have prayed for my daughter every day–often multiple times a day–since she was a pink line on a stick. I pray for my husband regularly and should be praying for him more. I pray for my pastor, I pray over our house, I pray for my friends and family, and this year I’ve spent some time praying over my workplace. So why do I struggle to pray for myself? A few reasons come to mind.
It’s self-care, and that’s usually last on my list.
A lot of people, particularly mothers, wake up thinking about how to take care of others. “What time does the baby need to eat?” “Is there something for my spouse to take for lunch?” “How do I need to dress the kids today for the weather?” There’s a reason that my grad school program constantly taught us about self-care: it’s easy to forget and even easier to not prioritize. Or if I do find time for self-care, it often comes down to a decision: do I go to that Zumba class? Or do I wake up a few minutes early for a quiet coffee? Do I meet up with a friend for drinks? Or do I steal away to my woman-cave to watch mindless reruns? The issue here is that we shouldn’t be finding time. We need to make the time. Set it aside in advance and commit.
I’m in denial.
Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt, my friend.
Praying for the answer to my worry requires admitting that I’m worried. Praying for more faith to cover my fear requires admitting that I am fearful. Although these are common and although the Word speaks directly about them both, I hesitate to admit that I struggle in these areas. Why? Doesn’t God already know anyway? By pushing it from my mind in order to not stress about it, I’m also not able to face it. But if I sit down and admit to God what I’m struggling with, I’ve already opened a perfect door to talk to Him about those things and receive the help I need.
I don’t want to be selfish.
This might be the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever thought. How can it be selfish to pray for your own needs? We MUST take care of ourselves. When I’m supporting my coworkers, I try to remind them often that “you can’t pour from an empty cup.” Even airlines understand that you have to put the oxygen mask on yourself before you help put a mask on someone else. We are useless in service to others if we haven’t served ourselves. I can’t support my family with no strength. I can’t give to others if I am empty. So it’s not selfish to pray for myself; it’s necessary! If nothing else, I like to use this as my standard of measure: Jesus did it. (Note: this is also why I’ve given myself permission to one day flip a table if it’s called for.)
Here’s my advice: pray for yourself, mama! Pray for yourself, dad!
I’m giving you permission (which you didn’t need).
Give yourself permission.
Your child needs you to. You need you to. The world needs you to.
We need your unique gifts and talents. If something is hindering you from offering those, then pray for yourself so that you can operate at your full potential. Don’t let anxiety and fear stop you. Especially not while you’re busy praying for someone else.