Do you have a bad habit that you want to stop? Are you in need of prayer to help you break your bad habit?
Bad habits don’t begin suddenly. They usually start with something simple and build from there. And while no one is perfect, don’t we want to live our lives more in tune with how God wants us to live?
“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. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12.1-2, NIV).
We can easily excuse our bad habits. “Hey, at least I’m not a (insert some really bad behavior that makes what we do seem so innocent).” But that doesn’t mean that our bad habits are not doing damage to ourselves and others. God knows that we will face situations that we cannot handle. Yet, he provides us ample opportunity to choose his way over our way.
“So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tested beyond what you can bear. But when you are tested, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it” (1 Corinthians 10.12-13, NIV).
These seven strong prayers for breaking a bad habit are not the only prayers you can pray. The habits below were chosen because they are the most common (and the ones we typically try to excuse away). You may have your own bad habit you want to break that’s not listed here and you’re welcome to ask for prayers in the comments below.
You can modify any of these prayers to make them fit your specific circumstances or change them slightly to pray for someone else with bad habits or additions. Use these prayers as a way to begin living more like Jesus. Pray, and be free!
A Brief Prayer to Break a Bad Habit
Lord God, I have a bad habit that I want to break. I don’t even want to mention it, but I pray to you, asking for your intervention in my life to help me break free. I don’t want to do this anymore. I want to truly live as a child of God. I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Prayer to Break a Bad Habit of Gossiping
God, my best friend confronted me this morning with something I did not want to hear. I was so angry at first. Now, after several hours of thinking about it, I can see that my friend loved me enough to want to help me.
She told me I gossiped about people quite a lot. I never really considered it gossip. I just was wanting to share what I knew, or had heard about people with others. But, she is right. My “sharing” is usually tinged with negativity about the person I’m talking about, not positive. It’s not uplifting, it’s tearing down.
O God, I pray for forgiveness and for your Spirit to change me and my bad habit. Help me to bite my tongue and not speak badly of others. Help me to not gossip. I pray for you to help me see myself in a new way so I don’t feel like I have to tear down other people to make myself feel good. I pray this in the name of Jesus, Amen.
Prayer to Break a Bad Habit of Telling Lies
Dear Jesus, I desperately need your help. I tell lies all the time. I know I am doing it, but it just seems easier to make something up than tell people what is really going on with me, or with my life. I lie to the checkout person at the grocery store, or to the salesperson at the mall.
What I’m saying doesn’t seem that big of a deal, but I am tired of not being honest–with myself, or with others. I keep my friends at an emotional distance with my lies, so they won’t know the real me. I feel like a fraud. Lord, help me be true to who you are in me. Help me to overcome my fear of being truly known by others. I am afraid I won’t be accepted if people knew the truth about me.
I want to tell the truth, not lies. I pray for your strength to break this bad habit, in the name of Jesus, Amen.
Prayer to Break a Bad Habit of Viewing Porn
Jesus, I can’t seem to shake this bad habit of viewing pornography from time to time. I know it’s bad for me and for my marriage. I know what I’m seeing is fake and manufactured. I know it’s not real intimacy, but it somehow helps me feel like it is.
I need help to be rescued from this bad habit. It’s probably more like an addiction and I want to stop. Show me people to talk to, or share with, that I can trust. I can’t do this alone, Lord. I want to be free. I want to be truly yours. I want to stop so much. Help me, Lord, I pray. Help me in your strong and powerful name, Amen.
Prayer to Break a Bad Habit of Being Envious
Lord, I didn’t think I was a jealous person, but lately I have found myself being envious of what others have, that I don’t. I see friends driving a newer model car than what I have and I begin to envy them. I watch people I don’t know buy things that I wish I could buy and I become envious, right there in the store!
I’m finding that I am not appreciating what it is I do have–how you have provided what I need (and most of what I want, if I’m being honest). I don’t like myself when I become envious. I’m realizing it is a choice I am making to envy others. I don’t have to make that choice, but I am not sure how to stop myself.
This is a very bad habit that I really want to break and stop doing. I want to appreciate what you have given me. I want to be happy for others and what they have. In the name of Jesus, help me to stop being envious, Amen.
Prayer to Break a Bad Habit of Judging Others
Dear Lord, I heard a friend make a judgmental remark about a mutual friend of ours and it made me upset. As I drove home from our lunch, I realized that I do the same thing, and more often than I care to admit openly. I was getting upset at my friend because his behavior was a mirror to my own.
I guess I should thank you for helping to realize this, even though I don’t enjoy knowing that I am being judgmental. What is it about myself that I don’t like, that I feel I am better when I judge others for their actions or behavior? Lord, please help me to silence this bad habit. I pray this in the name of Jesus, Amen.
Prayer to Break a Bad Habit of Cheating
Dear God in heaven, I apparently am more competitive than I thought. Whenever I play a game–sports game, card game, board game–I find someway to win, usually by cheating in some fashion. My children and extended family have called me out on this, but I always find some excuse to ignore them.
I find myself cheating just to see if I can get away with it. Lord, this cannot go on. I’m setting a horrible example for my children. My friends are starting to not want to play any games with me because of this. Help me break this horrible habit and be honest and sincere. I need your help, because clearly, I cannot do this on my own. I pray for your help in the name of Jesus, Amen.
Jesus was often questioned by religious leaders when he taught in the Gospels. After one such instance, even his disciples raised questions, as they did not understand. I quote Jesus at length below to show his point, that it is what is in a person’s heart that determines behavior.
“Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.” After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. 18 “Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them? For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.) He went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. 21 For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and defile a person” (Mark 7.14-23, NIV).
Bad habits can begin to define us. Bad habits can start to form us into people we don’t want to be. Bad habits aren’t always related to substance sobriety either– little actions can turn into big bad habits. Then are “little” habits like smoking that can turn into big problems over time.
Praying about your bad habit and bringing it to God is a great way to let God help you. Now you’re not alone–you have God Almighty helping you!