Four Ways Prayer Humbles Us — and Why That’s a Good Thing

Four Ways Prayer Humbles Us — and Why That’s a Good Thing

Scripture tells us that Jesus often went to lonely places and prayed. Jesus had a natural posture of humility. He never pridefully rattled off Bible verses or wagged his finger at anyone in sin. When he told the people to cast the first stone in John 8 for the woman caught in adultery, he was on his knees writing in the dirt. When he was praying in the garden of Gethsemane he was on his knees. Jesus naturally assumed a posture of humility. It wasn't something he had to try to put on or force himself to adopt that trait. Humility is a part of who God is.

As Christians, humility should be natural part of who we are too. When we spend a considerable amount of time in prayer, we admit to God that we can't handle things on our own. It is with a contrite heart that God can use us in the best ways. Assuming a posture of humility rather than one of pride allows God to use us not only to spread the gospel message, but also to be a light in other people's lives.

There's nothing more humbling than prayer. Prayer allows us to face the reality that we are in communion with an almighty, loving God. Because we can talk to God all the time, we often underestimate his omniscience, power and presence in our lives. Here are four ways prayer humbles us:

1. We Ask Him to Do the Impossible

During my years of being a Christian, I've had to learn to ask for the big things that God wants to do in my life. In the beginning of my Christian walk, I often asked for small things, keeping the big (and seemingly impossible) requests to myself. But over the years, I was convicted the reason why I didn't ask God for big things was because I didn't trust he would do them. I thought I'd feel disappointed or rejected if he didn't grant my request.

God is not a genie in a bottle or vending machine, however, he longs for us to come to him with all of our requests, big and small. When we humble ourselves and ask him to do the impossible, we are demonstrating that there are certain things in this world that are out of our reach. We cannot fix every problem on our own and we cannot do life on our own. If we abide in God and yield our lives to his will, we may find he grants us our impossible request after all.

2. It Puts God in Control

There is no better place to be than in the center of God's will. But one of the biggest issues humans have is the tendency to want control. We want to control every area of our lives because we don't trust that God will do things the way we want him to. Prayer gives us the opportunity to surrender our lives to him in every way. When we pray for our children, our marriage, our finances, or our health, we give God control and in essence tell him, “You are God; I am not. The situation is in your hands.”

A great example of this is Exodus 14:13-14. The Israelites look out and see the armies swarming around them. It looks impossible that they will ever win the war, and that they will certainly die. They grumbled to Moses, complaining to him that he made the wrong decision in bringing them there. But Moses gives them a dose of reality and says, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” The entire rest of the chapter details the account of what God did once the Israelites surrendered their weapons. What seemed counterintuitive to them allowed God the opportunity to work miraculously in their lives.

When we pray, it is like we surrender our weapons. No longer can we fight our own battles, but rather we give God the steering wheel and allow him to drive our lives in the direction which he chooses.

3. It Allows Us to Experience Freedom

When we humbly give God control of our lives, there is a freedom we experience. No longer do we carry the figurative weight of our situation on our shoulders. We can rely on an Almighty God who will take care of this situation for us. Humility involves trust that God will do what only he can do, even if we've never seen him act in that way before.

2 Corinthians 3:17 says, “where the spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.” This verse encourages us to ask the spirit of God to be with us in every situation. God is a gentleman; he never forces his will or his presence upon us. We must ask him for it. That is why prayer is so important in our lives. We get to partner with an almighty God who promises to never leave us or forsake us. He may not always answer requests in the way we would like, but we can always trust that the way he answers them is the best for us.

4. It Keeps Our Hearts Pure before Him

Prayer allows us to have pure hearts for giving us the opportunity to confess our sins regularly to God. When we confess our sins to God, we humble ourselves and admit we are not perfect. The more comfortable we feel with confession of sin, the more likely we are to live righteous lives before God. Although we will never be completely perfect in this life, confession of sin and repentance of behavior allows us to testify to Jesus’ death on the cross and his atoning work in our lives. 

If you have trouble confessing your sins because of embarrassment or shame, there's hope. Try the ACTS method of prayer:

Adoration - Start with praising God, exclaiming to him all he is and worship him simply because he is God. When we begin to praise God and realize who he truly is, we can't help but move into confession.

Confession – This allows us to clean ourselves from the inside out. If it has been a while since your last confession, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any sin that may be hindering you from having a vibrant relationship with God. The Holy Spirit will never conceal sin from us. It is in God's nature for us to be free, and he wants to reveal our sins not to shame us, but rather confess it so we can be free.

Thanksgiving - Once we have confessed our sin, we can express our gratitude to God for being willing to forgive us.

Supplication - We then can present our requests before God as supplication. Following this method may seem elementary, but it'll put you in the right attitude for going about your day. 

Prayer is an incredible conduit for an intimate relationship with an Almighty God. When we participate in prayer, humility naturally follows. It kills the sin of pride and allows us the opportunity to confess our sins to God. And when we do so, we can experience freedom like never before. 

Because where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 

Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Anastasiia Stiahailo

Writer Michelle LazurekMichelle S. Lazurek is a multi-genre award-winning author, speaker, pastor's wife, and mother. She is a literary agent for Wordwise Media Services and a certified writing coach. Her new children’s book Who God Wants Me to Be encourages girls to discover God’s plan for their careers. When not working, she enjoys sipping a Starbucks latte, collecting 80s memorabilia, and spending time with her family and her crazy dog. For more info, please visit her website