The Helplessness of Prayer

I’ve become aware of the difficulty of the English language. Our girls have often used words incorrectly that sound alike; like play and plate, high five and Wi-Fi. We’ve often stood staring, puzzled by what it was they were actually trying to communicate.

It’s interesting how hopeless and helpless sound so much alike. I want to be careful not to confuse them in my daily walk. They lead down different paths and have very different endings.

I’ve mentioned before, when we said yes to these adoptions we jumped in the deep end. I’ve also said how thankful we are that we did! Swimming in the deep end is stretching, but God is an incredible lifeguard. This is a lesson we’ve learned well; but like so many lessons, this lesson is multi-faceted.

Now we are learning about helpless prayer.

Helpless is exactly how I feel. I can do nothing from here. I can’t make governments step up, paperwork fly, and money appear. I am often heartsick and helpless to change.

Then I realize that’s exactly where God wants me.

It’s in our helplessness that he can move. It’s in our helplessness that we can be saved. When we are helpless, we have no choice but to fall into him.

If I didn’t I would be hopeless.

Hopeless is a scary word. It means emotional turmoil and devastating days. It means black. It means no future. It means finality; debilitation, despair. It means no hope.

Hopeless prayer isn’t really prayer at all. If you were hopeless, would you bother to pray? Would you have the strength? But helpless prayer; that’s when miracles show up.

Wine at the wedding. Water at the well. Health for a child. Strength for a paralytic. Food for the thousands. Sight for the blind. Life for the dead.

I don’t like being helpless. I seem to always have a gnawing hunger, a tension in my soul. I have to remind myself that God wants me to come to him broken. When we are broken, he is our strength.

During our fundraisers many friends encouraged me with Ephesians 3:20. “Now to him who is able to do immeasurable more than all we can ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…..”

I’ve appreciated it greatly and found comfort in this verse. But here, a few verses before the promise, have I found my strength for this season…

Paul praying for the church in Ephesus;

For this reason I kneel [pray] before the Father,  from whom every family [even mine] in heaven and on earth derives its name.  I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you [because I am weak] with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, [his love for us] may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, [for me and my family] and to know this love that surpasses knowledge [his love is greater than my knowledge]—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,  [bigger than me] according to his power that is at work within us, [yet through me] to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Ephesians 3:14-21

It’s in this prayer of helplessness, that hopelessness is abolished and power in Christ is found.

This is the promise I will cling to. This is the prayer I will pray.

Helplessness is a weakness my Father can use. Hopelessness is a devestation of the soul.

Watch your English….