In recent days, I have noticed myself praying one specific prayer more than any other–“God, help me!” I find myself asking God for His help all the time in this season of life. Two years ago, we were living in the US, but now we live on the other side of the world. Two years ago, I had no problems or difficulties going to the grocery store, paying bills, or simply communicating with people. Now, all of these things are hard; they can be both mentally and emotionally exhausting. Learning a new language and culture requires dedication and perseverance. Becoming a father is wonderful and rewarding, yet it is a huge responsibility. I know that in my own strength, I can’t do any of these things well. So, I plead for God’s help.
You may be asking, “what do you mean by help?” I am referring to the mighty power and enabling of God Almighty. Jesus said in John 15:5, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” Notice that Jesus says the word “nothing.” Many times pastors and missionaries will talk about this verse in terms of service and ministry, but I have found it to be true in every aspect of life. Some mornings I find myself praying “Lord, help me just to get out of bed this morning.” The Christian life cannot be lived out in human strength and effort. We need the Holy Spirit to fill us each and every day (Ephesians 5:18). We need Him to empower us that we might be His witnesses to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). I love that Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit as “the Helper” in John 14:16. He was sent to help us!
Often times, I sound like the father of the boy with the unclean spirit: “Lord, I believe! Help my unbelief.” (I need His help in simply believing at times.) According to His lovingkindness, He has always answered this prayer. He has always helped me. Maybe not in the way that I wanted or expected, but always in the way that I needed, in the way that strengthened my faith.
So, when you don’t know what to pray, pray that God would help you to know. When you don’t know what to do in the midst of a trial, pray that God would help you and give you wisdom. When you don’t feel like serving others or sharing your faith, pray for God’s help in changing your heart and attitude. This isn’t some sort of magical prayer. It is simply one that recognizes that He is God and we are not.