We are told in God’s Word that sin is deceitful (Hebrews 3:13) and we are also told that our hearts are deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9), and on top of that, Jesus said that the devil is “the father of lies” (John 8:44). So, it should not be surprising to us that we can take some of the most holy practices and use them to serve ourselves instead of our Lord. With prayer, for instance, we can very simply, yet subtly, turn it into a scheme for enlarging our self-esteem.
Think with me, we most often pray for people when they have needs. They’re either struggling with sin or going through some trial, and though it may sound sickening, our hearts can see this as a prime opportunity to nurture thoughts like, “At least my sin hasn’t reached that level” or “That’s what happens when you don’t take God’s Word seriously (implication: “Like I do”).
This is why when we pray for someone’s repentance or growth or endurance in the midst of a trial, I think it is wise to insert five little words to help us keep a proper perspective: as you have with me.
Whether it is a sin that person has fallen into or trials that they need to persevere through, God has done the same thing for you that you are asking him to do for that person. God has graciously granted you repentance and brought you through many trials, so how can you measure yourself against that person in your mind and see yourself towering over them? No doubt, there were people praying the same prayers for you when you were in similar circumstances and God answered with the same help you are asking for in their lives. Therefore, pray, “Lord do this for them… as you have with me.”