Pray for myself? Right away that sounds counterintuitive!
I thought the Christian life is about giving to, and praying for, others - putting others first?
Of course this is true. In fact, it is one of the foundational truths of our faith and our love for others is what often sets us apart from other religions and groups. However, a wise pastor once taught that we should actually pray for ourselves first!
I'm not taking about covetous prayers for our own selfish desires and cravings. It is not wrong to have desires and pray for them. But when they morph into selfishness it can become very ugly. We often need God's wisdom to know where to draw the line!
What I am referring to is a prayer to "get right" with God!
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
We often quote the first part and the last part of that verse - but leave out the middle part: "Seek first the kingdom of God... ...and all these things will be added to you."
But there is a middle... "...AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS!"
We are to pray that we are RIGHT WITH GOD! In other words, "Straighten me out God." Then I will be ready to help fix the world!
David asked God to search him "to see if there was any wicked way in him" - then to - "lead him in the everlasting way!" (Psalm 139:23-24)
A few days ago, I was making a prayer list and it kept getting longer. They were valid and unselfish requests. But God brought me back to this truth. Until we seek His righteousness (not our own) and walk in it, we will not be very effective for His Kingdom! The more God has a grip on our own hearts, the more use we all be for the Kingdom of God!
HIS righteousness working in us is what is needed to truly further His Kingdom! Our first order of prayer and our highest calling is to get in line with God, His righteousness and His will - dying to ourselves and allowing God to fill us with His Spirit!
In fact, God has a very negative option of who we are, in our own righteousness...
But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags;
We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
Man often tries to use his human intellect to imagine what God wants and then endeavors to act accordingly, thinking God will be pleased. The world around is a monument to how futile that mindset is!
But God tell us to SEEK HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS! Then He promises to also reward those who diligently do so! (Hebrews 11:6)
Then, and only then, will... "all these things will be added to us!"