Pray for Humility

Written by William Barclay

Who was William Barclay?

William Barclay was a theologian, a minister of the Church of Scotland, and a Professor of Divinity and Biblical Criticism at the University of Glasgow.

He wrote this prayer asking God for humility:

“O Father, give us the humility which realizes its ignorance, admits its mistakes, recognizes its need, welcomes advice, accepts rebuke. Help us always to praise rather than to criticize, to sympathize rather than to discourage, to build rather than to destroy, and to think of people at their best rather than at their worst. This we ask for thy name’s sake.

Salvation Came through Humility

Zac Poonen, who has been serving the Lord for over fifty years wrote,
“Sin came through the pride of Lucifer and salvation came through the humility of Jesus.”

As Christians, we know that without humility, we cannot enter God’s Kingdom. We know because Jesus told us this in Matthew 18:3-4 when He said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

Praying for the Virtue of Humility

So, let us reflect on William Barclay’s beautiful prayer.
“Give us the humility which realizes its ignorance and admits its mistakes.” Often we are aware we have made a mistake. Deep within ourselves, we know that we have erred but knowing and admitting can, at times, be as far apart as east is from west. It is admitting our mistakes that is humbling, especially when that recognition is followed by an apology. We may or may not be forgiven by the person we have wronged but that is not as important as the act of humbling ourselves and risking that rejection. The bonus is that, once we ask for forgiveness, we have been forgiven by the One who truly matters.

Help us to Praise

“Help us always to praise rather than to criticize.” When not applied constructively, competition can become ugly. Living in a material world, looking at the accomplishments or possessions of another can easily trigger resentment and, without realizing, allow the darkness of jealousy to harm our peace. It is vital to our sense of self-respect, peace, and above all, our relationship with Jesus, to pray for and be thankful for the success of our neighbors. Should we, for some reason, disagree with their choices, humility will give us the strength to complement rather than criticize. If we see a loved one making sinful choices, we want to guide rather than judge. Humility will help us to do this lovingly. In this way, we are building rather than destroying.

Think of People at their Best

“And to think of people at their best rather than at their worst.” As Christians, we well know the importance of seeing the face of Christ in all men. We need to see His face in the face of the homeless, the falling down addict, the sick and dying, or the proud boasting. It may be difficult and we may have to dig deeper, but accepting that there is something worthy in all, even those who present the greatest challenge, is an act of humility at its best.

“God had brought me to my knees and made me acknowledge my own nothingness, and out of that knowledge I had been reborn. I was no longer the centre of my life and therefore I could see God in everything.”
~Bede Griffiths ~

The Humility of Our Lord

Jesus could have chosen to come into this world, a wealthy man but He chose, instead, to be born in a stable. Throughout His ministry, He displayed one act of humility after another. His ultimate act came when he so willingly accepted suffering; the suffering that lead to the cross. Humility in its purest form has never before Him and will never again be achieved but we have the most magnificent model to emulate.
As we go about each day, let us take time to go into our hearts and ask, “How do I humbly respond to this?” And when we ask, may we be silent so that we hear Him answering our question.

Marilyn Nash for


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