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6 Fervent Prayers For Self Control

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Wanting more willpower & self-discipline? Pray these prayers for self-control to ask God to help grow this fruit of the spirit in your life.

When it comes to self-control, one of the main phrases we often hear is when people say they “lost their temper,” whether it was expressed in words or in actions. Though self-control is needed in moments of anger or to avoid fits of rage, self-control is a daily discipline that affects most, if not every part of our lives.

You need self-control in:

  • your marriage and parenting, to avoid sinning in your anger
  • your eating, to avoid the sin of gluttony
  • your education and your work, to be diligent and hard-working
  • your everyday life, like when you’re stuck in traffic or behind an especially bad driver

Our thoughts should not be left to go wherever they may roam – that’s just a recipe for disaster. We need to continually take them captive and obedient to Christ.

If you’re struggling with self-control, and you’re hoping to grow in patience, discipline and self-restraint, these prayers are a good place to get you started.

The battle for self-control is not only something we see in our anger, but it shows up in our thoughts, spending habits, words, food and relationships, to name a few. We can find self-control as a culprit when we choose to do other activities above spending time with God, or when we value other things above Him. Self-control, or the lack of it, can easily reveal the idols of our human hearts.

The Bible is very vocal on the topic of self-control. In Proverbs 25:28 it says that, “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.”

Can you picture this image in your mind? This city whose walls are broken into not only symbolizes that it is open to attacks, but it says that the walls have been broken through. There are no walls to guard the city. When we lack self-control, we are driven by the inclinations and impulses of the flesh.

A lack of self-control is evidence of the flesh, but self-control is a fruit of the Spirit. Many of us know the fruit of the Spirit, but one thing to note about it is that it is something that God cultivates inside of us. Just like joy, peace and patience, self-control is the work of the Holy Spirit inside of a person who has and continues to put off their flesh and put on what God calls them to.

“Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” – Galatians 5:24

In some cases having self-control and not having self-control can be the difference between life and death. Many people’s lives have suffered the consequences of their lack or other people’s lack of self-control. Relationships have been hurt because of uncontrolled words. People have lost their lives because of uncontrolled drinking, and others continue to live with the consequences of a moment of indiscipline.

It is only when we come to God with our broken pieces, and ask for Him to change us that we can begin to see changes in ourselves. It is not only will and determination, but the Spirit and Word of God that works in us as we submit our lives to it.

Use these prayers for self-control to help you in your times of need to fix your eyes on Christ, leaning into Him with faith, while choosing to align your thoughts and actions with His will for you. May they leave you encouraged and inspired.

Prayers for Self Control

Prayers For Self Control - woman bowing her head in prayer wearing a plaid shirt in front of a teal background

1. A Prayer of Confession & Forgiveness


I feel so heartbroken and ashamed about my lack of discipline and self-control. It has affected my life in ways that have been less than beneficial. There are things that I want to do that I know are good for me, but I don’t do them. Then there are things that feel right in the moment but cause so much pain and disappointment afterwards. I admit that there are times when I fight against my flesh, and other times when I don’t resist the urges of my flesh and simply let it take the lead.

I know that You call me to live a life of self-control. Please forgive me for my lack thereof. Help me not get so caught up in my own feelings and what my flesh desires. Help me to practice discernment and not choose the path of instant gratification. Please forgive me for the times that I have chosen to act in my flesh, when You have given me a better way. Thank You that You have made Your forgiveness available to me. Thank You that I can start today anew, knowing that I have been forgiven.

In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

2. A Prayer for Grace

Lord in Heaven,

I have failed countless times. Sometimes it feels as though I am far beyond Your grace. But I know that there is no place where Your grace can’t find me. Thank You that I can come to You in faith, and seek mercy and grace in times of need. Thank You for loving me despite my daily shortcomings. Thank You for showing me Christ, who has given me a gracious example of the life that You call me to lead. Whenever I sin, and lose my self-control, I pray that You would help me not to run away from You but to run toward You.

Please help me to remember the gospel when I fall short. Help me to remember that there is grace for my sin. I don’t have to beat myself up over and over for something that You have given me a way out of. Please teach me to choose Your way when I am faced with a tempting decision. And when I choose wrongly, remind me of the grace of Christ, that gives me strength to change my old ways.

In Jesus’ name, amen.

3. A Prayer to Glorify Christ Through Self Control

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for sending Jesus and Jesus, thank You that You came. Thank You for leading by example. It is such an honor to be a witness for You to those around me. I admit, sometimes it’s easy to forget that You have called me to be Your witness and to reflect Your character. You don’t only call me to preach the gospel through words. You also call me to preach the gospel through my character and actions. There are many times when my lack of self-control does not reflect who You are.

Please forgive me for the times when I don’t practice self-control and lose out on an opportunity to reflect You to others. Help me to remember that I get to glorify You through every part of my life, including being self-controlled. It is easy to follow every whim of my flesh. But it is harder to lay down what my flesh desires, and to what the Spirit desires. May the gospel become my motivation to conquer this issue of self-control in my life. May You be more precious to me than what makes my flesh feel good. May I realize the great reward and treasure I have in Christ, that far exceeds my fleshly wants.

In Jesus’ name, amen.

4. A Prayer for the Holy Spirit to Help You


I just want to thank You for giving me Your Holy Spirit. We often forget how great of a part that He plays in our lives. Please forgive me for the times when I chose to follow my own voice, or that of the world, and suppressed the guidance of Your Spirit. My problems with discipline and self-control are not issues that I can solve on my own. I need Your help, Holy Spirit.

Please give me wisdom as I face the many decisions that I need to make each day. I pray that my choice of words will be gracious, kind and build up instead of tear down. I pray that my actions will be a reflection of Your work inside of me, because I am a work in progress. I pray that Your voice would not only be louder than that of the world, the enemy, and my own, but that You will give me the strength and desire to choose Your ways above my own.

In Jesus’ name, amen.

5. A Prayer to Renew Your Mind & Train Your Flesh

Father in Heaven,

I know that my actions reveal what I cherish in my heart and what I think of long before I do anything. Please help me to prepare my mind for the inevitable battle against my sin and my struggle with self-control. If there are any old patterns of thinking that are holding me back from living a more disciplined life, I pray that You would help me identify them.

Help me not to be conformed to this world, and its ways of thinking but to be transformed by the renewal of my mind, so that I can discern what Your will is, which is good and acceptable and perfect. I pray that as You change my heart and mind, my flesh will begin to follow. Just as an athlete, help me to discipline my flesh and not give into every whim and feeling. May Your work in me be so evident, and may You receive all the glory for it.

In Jesus’ name, amen.

6. A Prayer for Restraint in Speech


I know that the way that I speak does not always please You. I can be quick to speak and slow to hear at times. But Your word calls me to be the opposite. Please forgive me for the many times when I have rushed to speak, or that I have said words that were hurtful and cutting to others. I know that the power of my tongue can either bring life or death to others. Please forgive me for the times when my words have caused pain or offense.

Help me to practice control over my tongue, and to be quick in giving a kind and gracious word instead of quick to give a harsh and hurtful word. Please help my words to be seasoned with salt, and gracious to those who hear it. Rid me of any negative and murmuring speech, and help me to use my words to bring You praise and glory.

In Jesus’ name, amen.

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