June 7, 2022
When Prayer Is the Best Way To Help
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"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord's people." Ephesians 6:18 (NIV)
My phone buzzed, and immediately knowing who the text was from, I read the message, which contained more heartbreaking news.
Over the last few weeks, a dear friend had experienced a series of trials that left her physically exhausted, emotionally drained and spiritually defeated.
What more could I do for her?
Why weren't things turning around?
At first, I felt honored and humbled that she would trust me enough to share her struggles, and I was hopeful that, with my help, eventually things would get better. Sincerely working with her toward a solution, or at the very least hoping to alleviate some of her stress, I delivered meals, offered to babysit her children and sent cards with encouraging notes. I rearranged my schedule to be available whenever she called.
Nonetheless, as the weeks passed, her circumstances didn't improve. In fact, they worsened, making me wonder if there was more I should do to help.
Did I exhaust all my resources?
Maybe you, too, have felt like this after relentlessly working to help someone - depleted and discouraged when there’s no evidence that the situation has improved.
God graciously allows us to be co-laborers in ministry, giving us the Holy Spirit to labor within and through us in Kingdom work. He encourages us to give to widows and orphans, (James 1:27) to mourn with those who mourn (Romans 12:15) and to carry each other's burdens. (Galatians 6:2)
However, sometimes we get caught up in relying on our own strength instead of calling on the power of Jesus. Upon reflection, perhaps I was guilty of spending hours on my feet "doing" for my friend without spending hours on my knees praying. I tended to use prayer as a last resort.
The Apostle Paul in Ephesians 6:10-17 warns Christians to be alert to the spiritual warfare raging all around us. Then he outlines the fundamental rule for engagement - put on the armor of God: the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of readiness, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit.
Last but not least, he instructs, "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord's people" (Ephesians 6:18).
Our key verse reveals three things about prayer:
- First, we are to "pray in the Spirit," allowing God's desires to become our own.
- Secondly, we are to pray continually, presenting our requests to our heavenly Father throughout the day. Prayer isn’t a one-and-done act but a constant communication with the Lord.
- Lastly, we are to pray for the needs of "all the Lord's people."
When we see others in need, prayer should be our first response. The Lord never intended for us to carry the weight of the world on our own shoulders, to single-handedly heal every hurt or solve every problem. How comforting to know that when we are weak, He is strong! (2 Corinthians 12:10)
God never tires of bearing the burdens of His children, for He is all-powerful. In fact, He wants us to go to Him for strength, guidance, comfort and rest, not just for ourselves but for others as well.
While in these mortal bodies, we continue to experience the effects of sin: hardship, struggle, disappointment and pain, to name only a few. Notwithstanding, through faith in Jesus Christ, we have hope, for we aren't alone; the same almighty power that raised Jesus from the grave is alive and works in and through us for His glory. (Romans 8:11)
Let's be encouraged and not defeated in our mission to help those in difficult situations. Starting with prayer, as we submit to the Holy Spirit's leading, we will be prepared to complete the good works Christ has prepared for us. (Ephesians 2:10)
Heavenly Father, what a blessing for Your children to be able to go to You in all circumstances! Thank You for bearing our burdens, for knowing and understanding our needs before we do. Help me to pray and wait for Your guidance when helping others. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
OUR FAVORITE THINGS
We know that prayer is a good thing. But sometimes it's hard to know where to start. Especially when it comes to our most important relationships or deepest desires, like our relationship with our husband or our desire for a husband we don't have yet. It's challenging to figure out what to say to God when there's nothing specific to pray, or when you find yourself frustrated. That's why we created these two resources, "15 Prayers for Your Husband" and "15 Prayers for Your Future Husband." Click here to download "15 Prayers for Your Husband" or here for "15 Prayers for Your Future Husband."
Need prayer? Want to lift up others in prayer, too? Join our Devotions Facebook Group!
FOR DEEPER STUDY
James 5:13-14, "Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord." (NIV)
Prayer is one of the best ways to help someone. How does knowing this truth alleviate the responsibility you might feel to solve someone's problem on your own?
We'd love to hear from you. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.
© 2022 by Laura Bailey. All rights reserved.