Only Helpless People Pray

March 17, 2010

in Personal Disciplines

Thanks to my husband (who found and ordered it), I’m now reading a book entitled, A Praying Life by Paul Miller.  I’m really enjoying the book and was struck recently by the thought that only helpless people pray.


Many times when I feel discouraged about my prayer life, I’m convinced that the antidote is a better plan for prayer, a better method, a new journal, or just plain old discipline.

But, this author argues that I don’t really need more discipline, I need a better theology-a clearer understanding that ‘Apart from ME, you can do nothing.’ John 15:5

My daily life proves this is true.

Some Help, Please?

I DO pray for the things that I know I cannot control or do much about:

  • When fears about health strike (an uncommon bruise, the beginnings of a horrible virus, pains with pregnancy)
  • When weather is threatening (storms threaten power outages or extreme cold, etc)
  • When we need direction in life (signs are unclear and the way forward is blurry)
  • When I’m awakened in the middle of the night and know I don’t have it in my power to get my child to go back to sleep

But, I often fail to pray for (or even think to pray for) the things that seem under my jurisdiction, within my powers to control, and too small for God to notice (or do much about).

I Can Do This By Myself, Thank You Very Much

The reason I pray little is because my understanding of my need (and the needs of others) is immature. I don’t need a new prayer journal or more discipline (though such things can be helpful), I need God to open my eyes to the truth of His Word and to show me how helpless I am

  • to get up in the morning
  • to lovingly send my husband off to work
  • to graciously feed my children and clothe them
  • to choose Scripture reading over internet reading
  • to persevere in joy throughout the day
  • to think of others more highly than myself
  • to discipline and correct my children with love and consistency

and that’s only the first few hours of the day.

A New Prayer

So, here’s to a day of praying for helplessness-of realizing my unending need for help and mercy for each breath.  And trusting that such helplessness will drive me to prayer and help me actually fill all the journals I’ve bought in years’ past with prayers, big and small-but all filled with HOPE because they’re lifted to the only One who can genuinely provide it.

U Turn

What things in your life remind you of your helplessness?  How have you seen your feelings of helplessness or self confidence revealed in your prayer life?

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1 Lora March 17, 2010 at 7:35 am

good reminders. thanks.
.-= Lora´s last blog ..Words: The Heart on Display. =-.

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