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Talkin' to Jesus (4)

Updated: Jul 6, 2022


"Jesus, please help!"

From my point of view, this is the most natural and common form that prayer takes. That is, the cry for help. Who doesn't need help? Who couldn't use a little divine intervention?

If we had no needs; no hungers; no ignorance; no unmet desires, would we ever pray? Perhaps we would. But it seems unlikely.

Since it feels so basic, it may also be assumed that it is base. In other words, that it is a lousy excuse for prayer (to only ask for things). As if communication with The Divine must be much more etherial and sophisticated in order for it to be properly labeled "prayer."

I readily admit that I have certainly been guilty of teaching errors in relation to what is called "petition" in prayer. Using various assumptions, practices, and morals, I've sometimes implied that we should be ashamed for bringing such long and "petty" prayer request lists to God. After all, He is not your genie-in-a-bottle.

Truly, if all we ever did was ask for help, it's reasonable to conclude that such praying would hardly be noble. But on the other hand, if we NEVER asked for help perhaps that would be just as ignoble. Both courses of action would likely come as expressions of pride. Pride might prevent us from gratitude, worship, praise, or confession, yet be overcome in moments of desperation. Yet, it would certainly be proud defiance that would insist on "never needing any help" from God at any time or for anything.

Here's a reassuring truth. God knows that you need help. He knows it, and is very much willing to help. He will not accept our diagnosis, nor will he sign off on the prescriptions we ourselves imagine. He alone gets to tell us what is actually wrong, and He alone is wise enough and good enough to prescribe the help we truly need.

In 1st John 5:14-15, the apostle wrote, "This is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask any thing according to His will, He hears us: and if we know that He hear us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him."

If we already had everything that we want and need, then there would be no occasion for requesting anything. So, the dearths we endure supply the foundation for the conversation God wants to have with us anyway.

Naturally, even in the listing of our petitions, we must still be led by the Spirit. John pointed out that we must "ask according to His will." That is, our requests must match His plan, purpose, and instruction. This implies strongly that even our prayers for help must begin with God-gaining-our-attention. How could we ever pray in agreement with God if we don't first hear from Him? His ways aren't ours. We will never concur with God (in prayer) accidentally.

In Psalm 46:1-3, the great saintly poet wrote, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the middle of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof." Pause to think about that!

So, this is where the rubber meets the road. Are you in trouble? Now.

It has been said that either you are in a valley now, or you have recently survived one, or you are headed for a valley. This is the nature of life. So, when trouble comes; when you walk into the shadowy valley, remember that God is there with you. He is able, willing, and eager to help. But He will wait for you to want His help. And, He will wait for you to ask for His help.

He didn't rescue Peter from drowning without Peter's desire to be rescued, nor without his expression of that desire. Wisely, Peter didn't insist on swimming.

Again, with what do you need help? Right now. Today.

Don't foolishly or proudly or stubbornly try to figure it all out or fix it on your own. Take your problems to Jesus. And, accept the solution He provides. It is likely to be a solution that you wouldn't come up with yourself. But His solutions are always perfect.

The psalmist David wrote, "Cast your burden on the LORD, and He will sustain you." (Psalm 55:22). To sustain is to strengthen or support. Go to Jesus. It's appropriate. Take your broken pieces to Him. He wants to hear from you about them. Ask Him for help with your problems; your sorrows; your suffering; your fears. He will help you.

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