"He must increase, but I must decrease."
Why do we pray the way that we do? Have you ever thought about the intentions and motives of your prayers? The Bible clearly teaches us that we are to do all things for the glory of God, but I am personally convinced that often I pray for what will make me happy not Him. Communion with God through prayer is an awesome privilege that allows us to have direct communication with the Father. A clear look at Scripture will teach us that God opens this pathway so that He might have fellowship with His creation. He receives glory by talking with us. We must be careful to not make prayer all about us.
Now, I am not saying that you should stop praying for the things that you currently have on your heart. I am simply suggesting that we need to consider our motives for doing so. Let me give you an illustration. I often pray for God's protection over my life and the lives of my family members. What I mean when I pray this is that I want God to keep any harm or any thing bad from happening to us. Obviously there is nothing wrong with wanting to protect my family, but what is my real motive? The truth is I just don't want to have to deal with pain and difficulty. Consider this question with me though. What if God wants to allow something in my life that is painful and trying? There are plenty of illustrations in the Scriptures where some of God's most faithful servants faced great trials. Did God not answer their prayers for protection?
Here is the change that must take place in our prayer lives. We must start praying for God's will to be done and not our own. However, when you do, be aware that God's will may be far different than your own. God's will may have difficulty and suffering in it. God's will is about bringing Him glory not you. John the Baptist experienced this as much as any one. He gave up every thing to be the forerunner for Jesus Christ. He surrendered his life to do the will of the Father. It eventually cost him his life. Do you think he complained when he met the Father? No, I believe he heard the words well done, because his life brought the Father glory.
John's prayer for his life was that Jesus might increase while he decreased. Many of us often pray that God would "lift us up". Could I encourage you to change this part of your prayer life today? Ask God today to bring you low! Ask Him to humble you so that all that you desire and want is the will of the Father. It is a difficult prayer, but it is desperately needed in our spiritual lives.
May you be brought low before a holy God today!