A prayer for personal growth

We must never cease to look inward and reach for sanctification. It is so easy to fall into sins such as pride, anger, and judgement. It is also easy to become led by insecurities, or to let broken relationships wound us so deeply they cripple us. Haven’t we all felt the sting of rejection? The pain of abandonment? The hurt of misunderstanding? The prayer below was written several years ago, shortly after I broke free from the sin of abortion. The ripple effects of my abortion, years of broken family relationships, misunderstandings, pride, hurt, anger, and a plethora of painful experiences had taken its toll on me.

The prayer wrote itself. I sat down and began to type the painful things that were inflicting me, and asked God to heal them, one by one. I did not ask God to heal and change everyone else, but to heal ME. To change MY thoughts. In the words of Sy Miller and Jill Jackson, “Let it begin with me.”

A Prayer for personal growth

When I am criticized, let me see my own fault.

When I am yelled at, let me respond with gentle silence.

When I am wrong, let me see my error and turn toward right.

When I fail and sin, let me have the courage and the strength to choose You once more.

When I feel slighted, ignored, judged, or made fun of, let me find healing in You, and rest in You.

When family is not empathetic, let me find empathy in You.

When family compares me to others or to themselves, let me not be prideful or hurt.

When I am caught up in the self-righteousness of others, let me be self-giving and understand that they may be hurting or covering pain.

When the past overwhelms me, let me remember Your death on the cross and my forgiveness.

When my conscience is tugging at me, give me the strength to seek the sacrament of confession. 

When I choose the love of another over Your love, remind me that it is better to be alone than to be without Your love.

When familial relationships are on uneven or on broken ground, let me be the first to be humble.

When I am the subject of harsh words, gossip, anger, or any other spoken pain, let me remember that I too speak ill of others, and close my mouth to retaliation, always convicting me to speak ill of no-one.

When I speak ill of others, forgive me, and give me the courage to make it right.

When I cannot speak, give me the words.

When I cannot forgive, break my heart towards the pain of the one who has hurt me.

When I cannot break free of sin, have mercy on me.

When I cannot find healing in my family unit, bring the healing to me from Your grace. 

When I long for the comfort of my earthly father, let me seek him and ask for his love, guidance, and wisdom.  If he is not able to be a comfort, let me seek it in You.  

When I long for acceptance from my brothers, let me seek it with patience, knowing that one day we will all see each other for who You have made us to be, not for who we believe we are.

When stress and fear grip me, emotionally and physically, hold me and hear my cry.

When memories plague my mind, remove them, and replace them with happy thoughts and memories.

When the devil speaks falsehood to me, deafen my ears.

When my own words are poison, remove them and let them fall on no ears.

When I lack patience, make me aware of it, give me patience, and let me seek forgiveness for my indiscretion.

When I am rude, uncaring, unkind, short tempered and off balance, let me seek forgiveness from those I hurt, and give me the love I need to be kind, gracious, patient and compassionate.

When others do not show me compassion, remind me of their own hurts.

When others do not show me favor, let me seek favor in Your eyes.

When I feel injustice, remind me to always be fair, or to give my portion to those who need more.

When I am afraid to speak truth, give me the strength to do so.

When I am longing for rest, let me find it in You.

When others are hurting, let my experiences bring them hope, and relief.

Let my sufferings have meaning.

When others see my sufferings as a “ploy” to be “victim” or attention seeking, let me dismiss the sufferings and render them to you, never asking for empathy or compassion regarding them.

When I am not a good mother, be a father for us.

When I am a good mother, be a father for us.

When parenting seems far to difficult, stressful, challenging, or like a lost cause, let me find joy in the simple small things, and fall in love with my children.

When stress robs me of emotion, especially joy, excitement, happiness and companionship, let me receive emotion from You and Your word. 

When I feel like I need to run, hold me still on steady ground.

When I want others to change, change me first. 

When I want others to apologize, convict me to apologize first. 

When I feel physically ill from stress, calm my body, giving me peace.

When I am afraid of what others are saying, remind me that the only thing that matters is what I am saying about You.

Do you want to write your own personal growth prayer?

Begin by taking a personal inventory of your pain points in your personal life. What causes you pain? What causes you to feel insecurity, anger, sadness, pain, or abandonment? This will be very individual, and your pain points will likely be very different from anyone else. Write them down, and take your time. Paint points may include phrases like “When I want” followed by something out of our control or “When I feel” followed by a negative or difficult emotion.

You may want to write them down in the same formula I did: “When (insert pain point)”…

After you have identified your pain points, begin contemplating and praying about the truth behind them. What do you need to pray and ask the Lord for in order to overcome these pains? Steer away from asking God to change others. Instead, ask the Lord to change your mindset, or protect you in some way. Ask the Lord to point you towards him, to heal wounds, to give you a peaceful mindset… whatever you need in order to overcome the pain without blaming others.

Only you are responsible for the way you interact with the world around you, and God can and will give you everything you need to do so in a holy way.

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