Maybe you’ve been there. Life has thrown you a cruel twist that has taken you by surprise and is threatening to destroy you. You get through your days the best you can, just trying to keep everything together and hold on to some level of normalcy and hope.
Your friends come to your side. One listens while you talk through the pain of your situation, another brings a meal so you don’t have to worry about food at a time like this. Still more friends spend time talking with one another, coming up with ways they can help; they plan some child care, purchase some items you might be needing, and even come clean your house.
It’s all a wonderful blessing and you’re thankful for God who has equipped your friends in so many diverse ways to come and minister to you.
Yet, you have one friend who really isn’t financially well-off so she can’t help you with your material needs. She is some distance away so child care and cleaning aren’t practical. But she wants to help. It just so happens that she has some sort of connection with the one person who could simply “say the word” and this whole problem would disappear. More than that, because of his authority over this situation, he can actually make it so you come out better off than you were before.
Your friend knows this person very well. He is available whenever she calls, and if asked, he will surely help.
She reads your blog and sees how all of the wonderful people in your life are stepping up and meeting your needs in one way or another. And she feels like she has nothing to offer. Those people are doing wonderful, tangible things. All she can do is make a phone call. Not much service in that. But because she wants to do something, anything, she gives you a call. With a sense of being bound by inability, she says “I wish I could do something for you. But, even though I can’t do anything, I still want to show you that I care, so I want you to know that I’m going to talk to my friend about this situation.
Sometime later that evening, your friend takes a moment to talk with the person who can help. She’s a little reluctant, not sure what he will say or do. Mostly though, she just wanted him to know that she cares about you and that if there is anything he could do, it would be appreciated. (But if not, she understands.)
Have you ever been that friend? Maybe in one way or another.
Maybe you’ve been the one who, out of lack of being able to “really help” offers to pray.
Maybe you’ve been the one who offers to pray, but does so without faith and expectation that God will answer.
Maybe you’ve said “I’m praying for you” when what you should have said was “I’m thinking about you.”
I’d like to encourage you today to stop looking at prayer as that thing people do when they can’t do anything else. If the friend in the scenario above knew that she could talk to the person who could fix everything, why not jump up and announce with overwhelming joy; “I know who can help you! I mean I know him! I talk to him all the time and he has told me that whatever I need I can ask him and he will give it to me! I’ll talk to him for you right now! I know he’ll help!” And when she goes to talk to her most powerful friend, why not approach him with confidence, knowing that he has the power and the desire to do what she asks.
My dear friends, prayer is not the consolation prize. Prayer is not the thing you offer when you have nothing else!
Prayer is your connection to the maker of all things. He loves his children and has extended his golden scepter to us, inviting us to come to him in prayer.
God’s throne is available to you at all time for all reasons.
Please don’t dismiss your usefulness when “all you can do is pray”.
“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16