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Prayer Day – Praying with Humility

Quotes from E.M. Bounds about humility  – “The Essentials of Prayer” chapter 2

  • To be humble… is to be modest, lowly, with a disposition to seek obscurity. Humility keeps itself from the public gaze. It does not seek publicity or hunt for high places – and it does not care for prominence… It never exalts itself.
  • It is willing to take the lowliest seat and prefers those places where it will go unnoticed. The prayer of humility is as follows

Never let the world break in

Fix a mighty gulf between

Keep me humble and unknown

Prized and loved by God alone
  • The Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Luke 18) – The Pharisee… exalts himself, gives himself over to self-praise, and is self-centered. Because of this, he goes away unjustified, condemned, and rejected by God. The Tax Collector sees no good in himself, is overwhelmed with self depreciation, far removed from anything that would take any credit for any good in himself… smites himself on his breast and cries out, “God be merciful to me, a sinner.”  He went… to his house justified. He realizes how poor in spirit he is, and how utterly devoid of anything like righteousness, goodness, or any quality that would commend him to God. His pride is completely blasted and dead, and he falls down with humiliation and despair before God, uttering a sharp cry for mercy for his sins and his guilt.
  • That which brings the praying soul near to God is humility of heart.
  • Pride, self-esteem and self-praise effectively shut the door of prayer.
  • Humility is a rare Christian grace, of great price in the courts of heaven, entering into and being an inseparable condition of effective praying. It gives access to God when other qualities fail… It’s full portrait is only found in the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Humility is born by looking at God and His holiness, and then looking at self and human unholiness.
  • Humility loves obscurity and silence, dreads applause, esteems the virtues of others, excuses their faults with mildness, easily pardons injuries, fears contempt less and less, and sees the baseness and falsehood in pride.
  • Neither pride nor vanity can pray.
  • Humility springs from a lowly estimate of ourselves and what we deserve.
  • Humility is feeling little because we are little.
  • Humility is realizing our unworthiness because we are unworthy.
  • It is feeling and declaring ourselves to be sinners because we are sinners.
  • Kneeling shows the attitude of prayer, because it speaks of humility.


Almighty God in Heaven,

May we each prostrate ourselves before You and tremble in awe, reverence and fear of You. May we see the greatness of Your majesty and holiness. May we begin to grasp just how powerful, awesome, worthy, perfect, wise, loving and infinite You are. May we begin to grasp just how small, tiny, weak and desperate we are for Your mercy, grace and the blood of Christ to cover our massive sin debt that we owe to You. Praise GOD that You, Lord Jesus, were willing to take on flesh and bear the full wrath of God for our sins in our place. We deserved hell and condemnation. We are all most wretched sinners. You alone deserve heaven. Yet You took on the punishment we deserved and earned and exchanged Your life and reward that we might experience a right relationship with God and know You. Just to know You – that IS eternal life.

We live in such prideful culture. We are all so prone to pride, exactly like Satan. We want to put ourselves up as equal to You, thinking we are worthy of worship or that You should bow down to us and do what we want You to do and that You ought to submit to our demands. How foolish and deceived and blinded we are! Sometimes, we even put ourselves ABOVE You in our hearts, thinking we know better than You do and that our wisdom is wiser than Yours and that we don’t need to obey Your Word or tremble in fear before You. Forgive us for our stubborn pride! Cleanse us from every trace of sin. Cleanse us from our rebellious spirit.

Let us fall before You in contrition, in humility, in awe, in worship and understand who You are and who we are properly. We want to humble ourselves before  You, Lord. For everyone that exalts himself will be laid low, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.

It is in humility that we approach Your throne and ask for Your Spirit to move mightily in our midst. Let Your Spirit fall on Your people here, Lord. Bring a Great Awakening to us. We cannot even open our own eyes. We are totally dependent on Your Spirit. We beg You, don’t forget this wicked generation of ours. We deserve Your wrath. But, please give us instead a spirit of repentance and contrition before You. Let us see our sin clearly and be willing to humble ourselves and turn from our wicked ways and turn to You that You might heal our land and that we might be a faithful, holy, godly generation for Your glory!

Let every woman here submit to You as LORD of her life. Let us hold nothing back. Let us lay everything we have and all that we are and all that is to come before You and let us give up trusting ourselves as if we are powerful and sovereign and wise. We are not! We are small, impotent and weak!  We are but dust! Let us fully surrender our lives to You. Let us trust You from this day forward. Thank You that You are able to cast out every fear as we trust You, that Your perfect love drives out all fear. Thank You that You are able to give us new hearts and minds and You are able to regenerate our souls by the power of the Holy Spirit. We can’t change ourselves. On our own, we are evil and sinful. Our greatest attempts at righteousness look like “dirty, bloody menstrual rags” in Your holy sight. Isaiah 64:6.

We need You!  We can do nothing without You!  We don’t need programs. We don’t need fancy campaigns. We don’t need new methods of evangelism. We don’t need self-help books. We don’t need money. We need You, Jesus! Your church, that You love so deeply, is so very sick. It seems our wound is incurable. We think we are so modern and intelligent and wise – but our souls are very sick, almost to the point of death. Do whatever it takes to wake us up, Lord. If we need to go through refining fire – we will accept that. If the gangrene that is destroying us means that we need to have an amputation spiritually, we will accept that. Rid us of our filth and sin.  All of it! Let us become the holy people of God that You command us to be!  Let us throw away our friendship with the world and its ungodly ideas and let us embrace You alone! Let us be faithful to You! Show us our idols. Let us tear them all out by the roots! Show us our pride, our self-righteousness, our lust, our gossip, our jealousy, our adultery, our hatred, our murder, our unforgiveness, our bitterness, our resentment, our apathy towards those who are lost, our apathy towards Your Word, our apathy towards those who are in need, our excessive interest with greed and entertainment and pleasure.  We are so very spiritually sick!  We don’t even know it.  You are the Great Physician.  Heal each of our spirits by Your power. Bring us to Yourself. Heal Your church in America and around the world. We need You so much right now – if You do not move among us – we will spiritually die as a people! We are already building up such wrath of God against us as nations for our sin.

Bring our husbands to Yourself, also. Bring healing to our marriages. Help us to study and embrace Your wisdom and Your design for marriage, for masculinity, for femininity, for faith and for families. We seek only Your will and Your glory, Lord!

In the Name and power and will of Christ,



A fantastic example of praying with contrition and humility:

King David’s Prayer of Repentance after He Committed Adultery with Bathsheba and Had Her Husband Killed in Battle – Psalm 51

Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
    blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity
    and cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is always before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
    and justified when you judge.
5 Surely I was sinful at birth,
    sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
    you taught me wisdom in that secret place.

7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
    wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins
    and blot out all my iniquity.

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
    or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
    so that sinners will turn back to you.
14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
    you who are God my Savior,
    and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
15 Open my lips, Lord,
    and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
    you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
17 My sacrifice, O God, is[b] a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart
    you, God, will not despise.


31 thoughts on “Prayer Day – Praying with Humility

  1. Rick,


    Yep! There are temptations with blogging to get excited about numbers and focus on that. I have had to wrestle with that myself. It could be tempting to think “more numbers = more success” and “more numbers = better.” I decided early in the whole blogging thing, I can’t look at numbers too much, I could let them go to my head, and that is BAD! So, I begged God to handle the numbers and to speak through me and that I might decrease and He might increase. I believe God wants me to do this – so, it is difficult to be in obscurity and write for people. And, now, finishing a book, there is temptation again “MY book” “MY blogs”… NO!!! I have got to keep my eyes on Jesus and let it be all about Him.

    Of course, Jesus was able to balance humility and speaking to crowds of thousands of people – so I just keep taking my motives to Him.

  2. Please pray for me and my husband . He doesn’t want to be married anymore and I’m heartbroken and damaged , emotionally , financially , etc. my husband basically abandoned me and our marriage .

    1. Alissa,

      I feel your heartache and share your pain. Please know that you have found a wealth of Godly wisdom and a supportive community here. I will pray for you and your husband.

      My prayer is that we (and others experiencing similar pain in their marriages) will look to God in the storm of our circumstances–not to our spouses, not to our own attempts to bail ourselves out of the storm, but to God only. I pray that we will be able, in His power, to keep our hearts, minds, and eyes completely focused on Him and our relationship with Him, trusting that, as we grow closer to Him, He will calm the storm in our hearts and will use our painful circumstances for His glory and our good.

      God bless you and grant you His peace that is beyond human understanding as you go forward with Him today.

    2. I’m praying as well Alissa! I absolutely believe in the power of Yahweh to RESTORE your marriage long after you/he may think it’s over. Stay strong sister, and rest in the knowledge that Jesus holds you. Much love and prayer coming your way!

    3. Dear Alissa, My heart and prayers are going out to you today. I’m so sorry your having to go through this painful time of loss. I’m thankful you shared so others can encourage you through this difficult time. May God’s love cover and sustain you, binding up your broken heart.In His unfailing love ,Lisa

  3. I have two things to share that are somewhat related. First of all, if you want a great humility prayer, google The Litany of Humility. I don’t know the history of it, but it really strips away everything, and I mean everything (deliver me from the desire to be loved, esteemed, etc.) except for you and the Lord.

    Second, I recently learned of a new way to interpret the passage where the rich young man comes to Jesus to find out what he needs to do in order to gain eternal life. When he hears that he needs to sell all he has, give it to the poor and then follow Jesus, he goes away sad because he loves his stuff. So, the man can’t give up his possessions and they keep him from Jesus.

    If you are not materialistic then this may not seem to apply to you, but the new interpretation I heard is that our possessions are anything that keeps us from Jesus. For example, if I like to be esteemed, that could be a “possession” that keeps me from Jesus. I found that the lines in the Litany of Humility that really struck me are my “possessions”.

    1. JenniferP,

      Great insights! YES – anything we put above Christ in our hearts is idolatry. Anything that keeps us from being wholeheartedly devoted to Him keeps us from Him.

      Wonderful insights, Jennifer! Thank you so much! I look forward to reading The Litany of Humility. Sounds really good. 🙂

      1. I need prayers for my marriage. We are on vacation this week and it has been horrible several hours ago I told him marrying him was a mistake. I do regret saying this for the most part but I do believe if I would have married a believer life would be much easier. It’s been a very long and difficult week any prayers would help

        1. Of course I will pray. I am sure it may have been easier, but marriage is difficult even with two believers. Still, I trust that God is able to use all of this for your ultimate good and His glory!

          Sending you a huge hug!

      2. I am so glad to have found your blog site! I am doing a blog post on humility this week and was searching for the authorship of these words and your site came up.
        “Never let the world break in,
        Fix a mighty gulf between;
        Keep me humble and unknown,
        Prized and loved by God alone.”
        (I believe they are words of an old hymn, but I am not sure. They have been used in many blog posts I’ve found on humility.”
        What matters INSTEAD is that I have found your wonderful writings (using Bible wisdom) on what it means to partner with an entirely different person than yourself. I have been in this position (married to an opposite) for 34 years and 5 kids. Our marriage has run a wide precarious course and God had to set it aright many times! But He is so faithful if we will cling to Him.

        1. Ann Clark McFarland,

          Thank you for sharing this! I believe it is an old hymn. So powerful! Thank you also for sharing a bit of your story and your beautiful faith in Christ.

          Much love to you!

  4. April, Although my marriage has been going a lot smoother, I still need people’s prayers! I need prayers to know how to respond in certain in situations. For example, while i was away last weekend my husband rearranged our bedroom furniture and cleaned out the closet, etc. While I do appreciate this, he has a habit of leaving all the tools he used and everything he cleaned out of the closet that he wants to put downstairs in the kitchen.I have asked him politely after a few days of not asking at all, if he could bring his tools and the other stuff downstairs. His reply was, “what about if when you went downstairs, you could take some stuff. There’s a lot of stuff there you know”. His other response is, “yes, when I have time” (although he finds LOTS of time to play video games, go on FB, etc). I find it hard to keep my composure – how do I respond to a man who I am not sure is kidding when he says stuff like the above? He does do stuff around the house (repairs, snow blowing, laundry, etc) but for some reason is not tidy and I think expects me to put the stuff he used away because he cooked, he repaired something, etc etc. I do not expect (and he does not ever) put stuff away that I used; that is mine. I have been praying for an answer to how I respond in these types of situations because when I think I have watched my body language and asked politely without nagging etc he still makes ‘cutting’ comments like the ones above or gets angry or says, “well you do…(x,y,z). but I have not yet found the best method of responding.

    1. JT,

      This can be frustrating. Yep.

      My husband tends to leave tools out for a long time, too, after working on projects.

      Now, I will just say, “When you get a chance, would you please clean up your tools, Honey? Thanks!” in a pleasant tone of voice – and he will usually eventually clean them up.

      He doesn’t like me to clean up his stuff. I did that once – it did not go over very well. So, I know NOT to touch his tools.

      If your husband doesn’t mind you cleaning it up and he won’t clean it up for days or weeks and it is a big issue for you – you could put the things away yourself.

      This is going to be part of extending grace.

      If you wait a week or so, and he still hasn’t cleaned things up, maybe you can thank him again for the repairs and sweetly ask him to clean up. Maybe he is a husband who is ok with a gentle reminder? Some men are, some are not.

      If he says, “You do X!” Then you can say – “Oh. I’m so sorry that bothers you. Let me get on that right now. Thanks for cleaning up, Sweetheart!”

      Check out the book Grace Filled Marriage by Dr. Tim Keller!!!!!!!!!!

      it will revolutionize the way you approach such situations. 🙂

  5. April, I hope you don’t mind me messaging you?! Inspired by your journey, I have recently decided to become a godly wife and respect and obey my husband in marriage. Everything has been going very well until two days ago, when my husband made a very strange request. He asked that as a sign of my respect (and when the children aren’t around, we have 3), I should start kneeling when he is in the room with me. I was shocked and upset and regretfully I became angry with him and accused him of not taking this journey we’ve embarked on together seriously. But now, having thought about it, I feel terrible for arguing with him and feel sorry to have sinned against him. I guess I was really just surprised. Then I noticed that you mention kneeling in prayer as a sign of humility in this blog post and I thought I write to you. Is the humility of kneeling for God alone or can/should it be for my husband as well? Also I don’t know, if I’m the only one who’s ever had this experience or whether it’s something that might interest others too, but I’d love to hear if you had any thoughts on what is the right thing to do? I hope to hear from you, but in the meantime, God bless! Sarah. x

    1. Sarah,

      Wow! I can see why you were surprised. I am sure I would have been, too. I am not sure what country you live in or what culture your husband is from? I have heard that in some African cultures, it is customary for a wife to kneel before her husband to serve his meal first. But, in America, I don’t know of anyone who kneels before anyone. We don’t even kneel before the president here.

      In many cultures, people would kneel before the king in the past.

      I don’t believe kneeling before a person would be a sin – unless you were doing that in order to worship him. Obviously, that would not be ok! It would be idolatry.

      Did your husband say why he wants you to kneel?

      Does your husband have any history of being physically violent with you?

      Is he into domestic discipline stuff?

      I think that this would be something to pray about and seek God’s wisdom about. If your husband is asking you to worship him, then you could not do it. But – if he is not asking you to sin – it could be a sign of humility. Jesus knelt before each of His disciples and washed their feet – something only a slave would usually do. He asks us to humble ourselves as servants to each other. But – it is unusual to have a husband request that.

      I pray God might give you both wisdom about this and that God alone might be greatly honored and exalted in your lives and in your marriage. 🙂

      1. Thank you so much for your response, April. He only said he would love me to do it, nothing more. He’s not the violent or abusive kind, nor into disciplining, so I’m still not entirel sure what to make of it. I want to know I’m not wrong denying him, so thank you for your thoughts! God bless, Sarah.

        1. Sarah,

          It sounds like you have a good man. I’m not really sure what to make of it either. I am praying for God’s wisdom and for sensitivity to His Spirit for you both. 🙂 Much love to you!

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