Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. ~ Matthew 11:29
Humility is so “unpopular”. It is literally the opposite of everything we believe to be good as a society right now: “stand up for yourself”, “don’t let anyone put you down”, “you are capable of anything”, etc. Even the most recent battle over “equality” calls itself “Pride”. This is not to say that recognizing your belovedness or having a healthy level of confidence is bad, but rather, grossly misunderstood.
It would be wonderful if we could help humility make a comeback.
Why Practice Humility
With pride comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. – Proverbs 11:2
Well, there are a thousand reasons, but mostly because it allows you to truly live in reality. It allows you to love and be loved, to learn, to grow, and to succeed. It is the secret to forgiveness, vulnerability, and meaningful relationships. It is a supremely challenging virtue but one that bestows proportionately astounding rewards.
NTM, “Humility looks good on you!” – Emily P. Freeman
“Never Pray for Humility”
We’ve all heard our parents quip that that there are 2 things you should never pray for – humility and patience.
Why, because God might give us opportunities to practice them, of course!
God doesn’t often respond to the prayers that beg for life to go our way, but you can be sure that He will always respond to sincere requests to come closer to Him.
Scary, yes? but, worth it?
More than anything!
Read Also: Vulnerable with God
He has scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart. He has put down the mighty from their seat and has exalted the humble. – Luke 1:51-52
First Prayer – Gratitude
In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:18
The toughest and most rewarding piece of advice I ever received was to say, “Thank you, Lord, for this opportunity to practice patience”, each time I found myself “loosing it”. The advice was pretty much laughable at the time. Having struggled with strong anger and impatience issues, it took me over a year to even attempt to say it for the first time. It is hard to thank someone for wounding our pride. However, when put into the perspective of personal growth, the effort it takes to put forth a good response to an unappreciated circumstance takes on new meaning, purpose and worth.
The exact same prayer works for humility. Each time we feel the pain of our wounded pride we can attempt to check our initial reactions by saying this small, but life changing, line.
“Thank you, Lord, for this opportunity to practice humility.”
It’s a little like a steady stream of water eroding all the sharp surfaces from a rock, making what was rough soft again.
Read also: Cultivating Gratitude in an Ungrateful Heart
Second Prayer – Litany of Humility
This prayer is best if regularly incorporated into your routine because, with frequent use, it becomes something always present in the back of your mind. You begin to notice places in your life that you wouldn’t ordinarily recognize where pride has established a foothold.
Pride prevents you from going deeper in your knowledge of yourself – because it makes you avoid or deny your weaknesses.
It also keeps you from going deeper in your relationships with God and others – because a prideful person only has room in his life for himself.
This prayer is intense but worth it.
Do not be afraid.
Litany of Humility
By Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val y Zulueta (Early 1900s)
*Note: If you are not familiar with the concept of Litanies, each phrase is said in full with the response in bold following each line. The power of litanies is in their repetition and the reflection on the different aspects that they encourage.*
Jesus, meek and humble of heart! Hear me!
From the desire of being:
- Esteemed, Lord Jesus, free me!
From the fear of being:
- Humbled, Lord Jesus, free me!
From resenting that my opinion is not followed, Lord Jesus, free me!
- may be loved more than I, Lord Jesus, make this my prayer!
- may be esteemed more than I,
- may increase in the opinion of the world while I diminish,
- may be chosen while I am set aside,
- may be praised while I am overlooked,
- will be preferred to me in everything,
Let us pray,
Lord, Jesus, though you were God you humbled yourself to the extreme of dying on a cross, to set an enduring example to the shame of my arrogance and vanity. Help me to learn your example and to put it into practice so that, by humbling myself in accordance with my lowliness here on earth, you can lift me up to rejoice in you forever in heaven. Amen.
“He must Increase; I must decrease” – John 3:30
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