Pray without ceasing. – 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (ESV)
Everywhere you look in the world, people are hopeless, helpless, sad, depressed, distressed, sick, broke, desperate, heartbroken, and the list goes on and on. It seems that everyone is struggling with something or other all the time. There is a never-ending flow of bad news. Naturally when we see friends in need, we want to help them. We want to DO something; however, often there isn’t much we can do. Truthfully, we want to help; we want to do something for everyone in need; but sometimes and actually most of the time, circumstances are out of our hands.
My helplessness to help everyone and anyone consumed me. We only have so many funds, we only have so many hours in the day. It is impossible to help everyone. This burning desire in my heart to help people left me paralyzed at the realization that I really couldn’t help. Money isn’t enough; time isn’t enough; influence isn’t enough. In a world where everyone has a need, a desire, a problem, what can we do as individuals to help?
It seems so simple and basic. In fact, we hear it so much that we almost don’t even register the meaning anymore. Someone asks us to pray for them, and we nod our heads and assure them that we will, but then we forget and carryon with our day. So badly we want to help, but we are neglecting the one way we really can help. When someone asks you to pray for them. Sincerely do it. Set aside a few minutes in the morning, midday, evening, or whenever is best for you and genuinely pray for them. Whenever they pop into your mind during the day, pray a ten second prayer for them.
Prayer is sometimes the only thing that can help someone, and yet prayer is often the one thing we lack in our doing.
Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayers and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints. – Ephesians 6:18 (ESV)
When we think about helping someone, we think about giving them money, giving them a place to stay, giving them guidance, direction, advice, whatever their need happens to be. But sometimes the one thing they really need is the one thing that we can actually give them – prayer.
No longer do we need to feel helpless and hopeless when it comes to helping the vast majority of people who are in need. We can genuinely fight for their cause in prayer.
I was guilty of telling people I would pray for them and then wouldn’t. Trust me, I meant to. I wanted to, I desired to, but then life would get in the way. I would still pray in the mornings and the evenings, but everyone’s request big or small seemed to slip from my mind and things closer to home seemed to float higher on my prayer list. I made a decision to stop the madness. I made a decision to make a list. I made a list of everyone who had been asking me to pray for them. I made a list of everything I knew I was supposed to be praying for. So now when I have my quiet time, I first pray for things that are on the forefront of my mind, but then I get out my list, and I start earnestly praying for everyone and everything on that list. I feel blessed to be able to pray for people. Sometimes prayer is the only way I can help people, so when I pray for them, I feel like I am truly helping them. I feel honored to go before the Creator of the Universe and beseech His help for friends of mine. It’s an honor. It’s a blessing. Praying for people blesses my heart and blesses my spirit. Prayer enriches my relationship with Christ.
Next time you really want to help someone, pray for them. Genuinely set aside time and pray for them. The Bible says to pray without ceasing. I’ll say that again. PRAY WITHOUT CEASING. We have a much more powerful tool than money, time, and influence. We have prayer. Praying to the Creator can bring about more help to a person in need than anything else on this world than our human hands could conjure up.
I urge you to also make a prayer list or even a prayer journal. When someone asks you to pray for them. Write it down. Keep a record of it. When God answers a prayer, write it down. You will be amazed at how God works through prayers.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6 (ESV)