LORD, HELP ME TO PRAY
Several years ago, a man was immersed into Christ. This man’s shyness is what made him rather unique at the time. It was a struggle for him to confess his belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God before an audience, but he did. It was a struggle for him to be immersed in the presence of that same audience, but he was. And a few weeks later, when asked in advance if he would read scripture before that crowd, he trembled mightily, but he succeeded in his reading! Within another few weeks, he had been asked to word one of the prayers at services. He had written down his thoughts on three-by-five index cards and rehearsed it so he could give the best of his ability, and he did well! Today, he is one of the elders of that church of Christ and teaching others how to serve God acceptably.
In one of his first prayers, he asked, “Lord, help me to make this prayer.” What he said afterward isn’t as well remembered, but that request was impressive. Few admit their need for the Lord’s help in praying as if they’ve already “mastered” the ability. But this man was humble, admitted his struggles, and asked the Father to Whom he was praying to help him. Compare that to what James wrote at James 1: 5 – 8!
The disciples struggled with prayer. Luke 11:1 records, “And it came to pass, that, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” Gladly, the Lord exemplified a prayer for them, and they learned. We need to follow that example and when asked, “Would you help me learn to pray?” answer with gladness, take them to God’s Book, and teach that soul how to pray by examining the several prayers within holy writ. It is always best to let the Lord teach us in such matters. After all, He has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3) including instructions regarding prayer!
But let’s examine another area of this same statement. Have you experienced times when it was “easier” to speak to God than at other times? Have you ever just “said the same things;” not with “vain repetition” (Matthew 6:7) but because you honestly could think of no other way of saying what was on your heart? Have you ever “lost your thought” while praying? What about forgetting someone you had desired to mention personally? How often have you begged God’s forgiveness for sins, thinking you could “lump them all together,” because you just haven’t “mustered the courage” to deal with that one “besetting sin” (Hebrews 12:1)? Have you ever been so tired you fell asleep trying to convey your thoughts to God in prayer? Oh, yes, there are several scenarios to this statement of asking honesty, “Lord, help me to pray!”
First, let’s realize God DOES help us in ways we can’t explain. First, He knows our needs before we ask Him (Matthew 6:8). That doesn’t negate our need to ask Him, but it assures us He is more attentive to our needs than we often are to our requests! Second, Jehovah has appointed His only begotten Son as our Advocate, and our propitiation (1 John 2: 1- 2), and our Mediator (1 Timothy 2:5). Third, Jehovah has made the Holy Spirit our intercessor (Romans 8:26). With all this help, though certainly not excused from speaking to God the Father through the authority of His Son Jesus (Colossians 3:17), we should rest assured God does help us pray!
Let’s take another approach to the statement. Do we ever take for granted our communication with God our Father? For example, have we neglected to thank Him for all the blessings granted to us (Philippians 4:6; Colossians 4:2; Ephesians 5:20)? Believing He already knows all about us (including our sins), have we neglected to beg His forgiveness, thinking that because He loves us, He’ll forgive us anyway? (1 John 1: 5 – 10) What about asking for opportunities to teach others the gospel; have we asked Him, or do we think opportunities are supposed to be happenstance? (Galatians 6:10)
The commandment, “Pray without ceasing,” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) means just what it says! Just when can our spiritual lives be without this marvelous communication with our Father? What a blessing to recognize we are His children, and that He desires to hear from us (2 Peter 3: 10 – 12; 2 Corinthians 6:15 -18)! Further, what a marvelous blessing to recognize the reality of His help – not only when we need it, or request it, but even in our actions of serving Him as He desires to be served, He provides help for us in everything!
There is no shame in admitting, “I need help!” The shame is in knowing this need and refusing to admit it and seek the answer that fulfills your need! The key to all this is “conviction,” better known as “BELIEF.” We’ve so often quoted John’s inspired statement of 1 John 5:13 – 15, but have we read and understood our Lord’s statement? “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” (Matthew 21:22) Realize also James’ statement: “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” (James 1: 6 – 8)
Yes, we need the Lord’s help in praying. We also need to increase our own help in this matter by increasing our belief in the truth of what God has said (Romans 10:17). Let pray about that as well!!!