The prayer of the Psalmist to his Lord:
“Turn my heart to your decrees,
and not to selfish gain.”
— Psalm 119:36 (NRSV)
In this day and age, or in any day, we may be blessed most of all in relinquishing our extraneous desires. When we become aware of our overburdening desire, that which is selfishly motivated, we will be blessed when we take courage to turn back to God by turning our hearts to the Lord’s decrees. In New Testament language these decrees—the ordinances, precepts, and commandments of God—God’s Law—are love.
Love is the higher law.
When we pray a prayer for protection from selfishness, we pray for awareness of our motives, and for the courage to surrender wilfully our selfishness to God. We pray, additionally, that we might come to repent in orders of love toward those close by us; our loved ones, our friends, our work colleagues, and those we fellowship with in our church settings.
The Prayer for Protection from Selfishness
Most gracious God and Father of all creation,
I bear witness of your glorious nature and unfathomable power for goodness. Nothing compares to you, O God. I come before you, as I do always, as a servant who has no right to do your work, apart from the right with which was bought for me by Jesus Christ my Lord. I am humbled in your Presence when I think of being apportioned work within your Kingdom; that you consider me worthy enough to join in your work. Your work is the biggest privilege of my life.
I confess before you, Almighty God, that I have this motivated self-interest and that I seem to be unable to live without selfishness when I’m without your Presence. I need you, for I need your protection against this foe: the extraneous desire. Without you in my life, my life would be pointless, and my selfishness would completely ruin me.
I thank you in advance for the things you are already doing in and through my life to expunge my encroaching sin. Whilst I am aware, I can give my selfishness to you. And as I act in selfishness, please Lord, remind me of my folly of short-sightedness.
I need you, Holy Spirit, to continually reveal the vanities of my desire. Draw me into your Word, Lord. Help me be honest regarding my poisonous desires. Help me to find ways of quelling my selfish desires. I ask for the peace that transcends understanding in order that the glory for having controlled these selfish desires runs to you, O God.
It’s in Jesus’ salvific name that I pray, AMEN.
Where would we be in life without love? We would be marooned; vanquished without purpose; completely devoid of hope. Everything that is selfish sets itself against love, but everything that is selfless promotes love.
When we pray for protection from selfishness, we pray for God’s power to know his will and to love God and everyone else more.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.