12 Prayers | True Body Image
My struggle with body image began in first grade when I got a short hair cut and another child said I looked like a boy. Thus started my hatred of my curly hair. In middle school I longed to have a mature body because I was made fun of for being flat-chested. In high school and college I began to struggle with believing that I was overweight. One thing was certain, I did not see myself as pretty and it set me on paths that I wish I had never taken to try to prove and believe that I was actually beautiful. Back then I had a list of qualifiers for being pretty; if I had the right clothes, if a boy would ask me out, if I would finally be kissed, if my hair was straight, if my stomach was flatter, if my chest was bigger then I would be pretty. I was searching so hard to find pretty on the outside, I neglected pretty on the inside. The irony was the harder I worked to try and meet these qualifiers, the more ugly I felt in my heart. Then, during my sophomore year of college, Jesus entered the scene and slowly but surely he began to turn my view of beauty on its head. Beauty no longer was getting men to look at me because of a plunging neckline, beauty was no longer a six pack, beauty was no longer flat hair. Psalm 45:11 says "the king will desire your beauty, since he is your Lord, bow to him." As I let go and began to let Jesus become Lord over every area of my life I began to see how he saw me. This did not happen overnight and as new seasons like motherhood and aging have changed my body, I have had to ask God to teach me again where my beauty really comes from. With his help I am gaining victory. Victory is what I desire for all the women who participate in the #12prayersfortruebodyimage. I want us to have Freedom from bondage to a false sense of beauty. I am praying that through these prayers and through the scripture we will know what true beauty looks like as image-bearers of God!
Prayers 1-3 by Amanda Gregory (@mytinytribe)
1. 2 Cor 5:2-4: “We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing... While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it's not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life. “
Lord, we pray that our hope would be renewed, that we would stop trying to grasp perfection for a vessel that is weak and dying. We pray that we would be good stewards of the temples you have given us and that our hearts would remain focused on heaven. May our flaws and scars not defeat us, but rather, add to the joy and hope of what you have waiting for us in eternity.
2. 1 Peter 3:3-4: “Don't be concerned with the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.”
Jesus, we pray you would help us out of the comparison traps we find ourselves stuck in. Help prevent our consumerism from taking over when we see people who have things we want. We pray for contentment to penetrate our heart and mind, that our gratefulness would be expressed in worship to you.
3. Proverbs 31:30: “Charm is deceptive and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.”
Lord, help us to recognize what is eternal and what is temporary. Our bodies and faces will be altered by circumstance and time, but with our eyes fixed on you, a deeper beauty can shine through. We pray that you would help us see where YOU find beauty and teach our children to do the same.
Prayers 4-6 by Stephanie Holden (@honeyholden)
4. Psalm 139:13-14: "For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works; and that my soul knows very well."
Love and Hate - choosing to love my body
Lord, in a world full of people striving for perfection, in which society constantly throws its definition of beauty in our faces and saturates us with images that we often compare ourselves to, please help us to fully grasp the truth that YOU created each one of us to look a certain way. You didn't accidentally create any part of us. Help us to see our bodies as you do, wonderful and marvelous. Please forgive us, Father, when we waste time pining for physical attributes that you've given to other people. Help us to accept how you created each one of us uniquely and with a purpose. Father, help us not only to be content with our bodies, but to CELEBRATE them - the differences, the disabilities, the flaws, the beauty and the imperfections. And Lord, for the person who hates her body to the point of self harm, doing things and striving to make her body "perfect," please reveal your truth to her right now. Illuminate her understanding, deliver her from this place of bondage and open her eyes so that she can see herself as you see her - beautiful and whole.
5. Psalm 92:12-15: "The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree; He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in old age. They shall be fresh and flourishing, to declare that the Lord is upright; He is my rock and there is no unrighteousness in Him."
Father, help us to accept that with each day you bless us with here on earth, our temporal bodies age a little more. Lord, when we look in the mirror and see the changes in our appearance, help us to know that each wrinkle, every laugh line, and all of our gray hair is an honor. Remind us that they represent wisdom when we choose to live a life seeking and trusting you. Help us not to dread getting older, but to embrace each season and to accept new physical limitations that come with age. Instead of becoming bitter for what we can no longer do, may we seek NEW ways to serve you. Lord, in a world that is consumed with stopping the aging process at any cost, help us, Father, not to get sucked in to this, but to spend our time and resources on what will last for eternity. May we be women who are fresh and flourishing, with vibrant spirits, pouring into the next generation and serving you to our fullest until the day you call us home.
6. 1 Corinthians 10:31: "Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."
Health as an idol: Stewardship vs Idolatry
Jesus, we know that an idol is anything that consumes our time and our thoughts to the point that we are focusing on it more than you. Help us to stay balanced in our pursuit of health this year. May our time of morning workouts not take the place of morning devotions. May our pursuit for healthy recipes not take the place of our pursuit of truth from your Word. And as we begin to lose weight and people notice, may their words of affirmation not mean more to us than hearing a word from you. Help us to seek balance Lord. We need to be good stewards of the bodies you have blessed us with, but help us not to become consumed by focus on them.
Prayers 7-9 by Lindsay Buono's (@lindsaybuono)
7. Daniel 2:22: "He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him."
Oh LORD, we are often amazed at how easy it is for our minds to be consumed by the way our body looks or what food we are putting in our mouth. Our 'not-enough’s' overwhelm us and we lose sight of you and what you say is TRUE about us. Oh how quickly we can be deceived by the enemy, who wants us to believe we can hustle to be better and give our thought life a quick fix. We praise you, Lord, that you want more for us. We pray that our overeating, under eating, and negative perceptions about our bodies would become red flags that point us to the deeper, underlying beliefs that have been twisted and corrupted throughout the years. We wish our eating habits weren’t a battle and that our views about our body could all be changed by giving the woman we see in the mirror a quick thumbs up. But you, Lord, offer greater healing for us. God, your word says you reveal deep and hidden things so we pray you would reveal all the lies we tell ourselves about who we are, where those lies came from, and how they impact our view of food and body on a daily basis. This seems scary and we don't know what you will show us, but we praise you that your light offers us safety throughout the process.
8. Matthew 22: 37-40: "Jesus replied: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and Prophets hang on these two commandments."
Lord, as you help us to become more aware of our self-contemptuous thoughts; we pray that you would help us see that those thoughts are not of you, for your Word says that there is no condemnation for those who are in you. Jesus, you've made it pretty clear that one of the greatest commandments we are to live by is that of loving others the way we love ourselves. Oh Lord, how are we to love others if we don't love ourselves? We long to learn how to love ourselves and the bodies you made for us. Jesus, we ask that you continue to make us more and more aware of all the ways we believe we’re not worth your time and we ask that you teach us the language of self-care and self-respect. God, we pray that our souls would know the dignity we possess because we are made in your image.
9. Galatians 5:1: "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."
Oh God, how easy it is to unknowingly choose slavery over freedom! How second-nature it has become for us to put on a happy face for the people around us while inside we may be drowning in shame! This shame grows unmanageable when it’s kept hidden. God, please give us the courage, humility, and strength necessary to continue to openly name our struggles in authentic community. We pray that you would wake us up to all the ways we are letting shame about who we are and what our bodies looks like keep us in bondage. Help us remember that we are in a place that is not our home and in a body that is only temporary. Thank you, God, that you are freedom-giver and that you have made us to be freedom-pursuers.
Prayers 10-12 by Jess Connolly (@jessaconnolly)
10. Romans 12:1: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God--this is your true and proper worship.”
Rededicating Our Bodies to the Lord's Work
Lord, we hold our hands, along with all the rest of us, up to you and ask that you'd take it back. We live our lives convinced these bodies are about us and our identity but we ask that you would take them back for your glory. When we forget their true purpose, remind us that these bags of flesh are tools for advancing your Kingdom, nothing more and nothing less.
11. Psalm 134:2: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God--this is your true and proper worship.”
That We'd Use Our Bodies to Worship Freely
Father, we do so many things with our body. We do bold things, we do simple things, we do wise things, and sometimes we do really silly things. Please help us to use these bodies to worship you wildly. Remind us to fall on our knees, literally and figuratively, in prayer. Help us to wave our arms for help or in praise. Meet us when we surrender ourselves and our hearts. Help us to throw off any thoughts of what we look like to other people and help us to only dwell on, and truly understand, what we look like to you.
12. Exodus 20:5-6: “Don’t bow down to them and don’t serve them because I am God, your God, and I’m a most jealous God, punishing the children for any sins their parents pass on to them to the third, and yes, even to the fourth generation of those who hate me. But I’m unswervingly loyal to the thousands who love me and keep my commandments.”
Revolutionize a Generation
Lord, we know we're not just seeking you for us. We're also seeking you for THEM. The teenagers, the gals at church, our daughters, our granddaughters. We know they're going to have issues, we know they're going to have sin, but Lord, would you end this one with us? Would you help us to have our eyes firmly planted on you and our hearts irrevocably wrapped up in your identity so that they don't see us struggle and pick up our insecurities? Heal us, Lord, so they can walk in freedom.
Thank you all for participating. I am praying and hoping that great ground was taken today in our battle to believe and understand true beauty and our true body image. I hope the Holy Spirit is doing a work that will allow us to see ourselves as God sees us. I pray that every woman who entered in prayer today over this topic will have found new freedom and I trust that God has even more freedom for them if they would just continue to seek Him.
Thank you to our four amazing writers, Jess, Lindsay, Amanda and Stephanie. Your stories of God opening your eyes to your true beauty infused into your prayers which made them all the more beautiful and powerful. I can not thank you enough.
Thank you to my little 12 Prayers team, Laura, who edits for us (praise the Lord) and my talented and creative ladies, Kate ,who does graphics design for our prayer cards and photos for us, and Jessica, who does painting and hand lettering for the extra pretties we sell. Thank you again. I couldn't have done it with out you!!
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Also we have beautiful mirror truth cards available for $4, available on our Etsy shop! Cut them out and put them on your mirror to remind you of your true beauty!