Our capabilities and resources are not the deciding factor in the outcome of that for which we pray. Rather, God is the best solution to our every challenge, even our people problems. Charles Spurgeon wrote, “In all times of danger from men our wisest course is to fly to the Lord our Helper. He has ways and means for delivering us which we know not of. He can either turn our enemies into friends or else so check all their efforts that they shall do us no real injury.” If you are facing a challenge, perhaps even a people problem, the easiest yet most powerful prayer is simply to pray, “God, help!” And why not, for the Bible says, “The Lord is our help and our shield.” (Psalm 33:20)
Karl Menninger, founder of the famous psychiatric clinic in Topeka, Kansas that bears his name, was once asked, “What would you do if you thought you were suffering a mental illness?” Without hesitation, he said, “I’d go out and find someone less fortunate than me, and serve them.” The truth is, serving somebody else, especially if they are worse off than you, is one of the most self-healing things you can do. When you are going through your own hardship, whatever that may be—sickness, loss, disappointment, depression—God’s therapy is to find those who cannot help themselves, who cannot repay your kindness, and minister his love to them.
A Simple Prayer for God’s Compassion to Flow Through Me:
Dear God, how many people will I come across today who desperately need your loving touch? Help me to see beyond my own needs to their need of you. Reveal those to whom you want me to be your hand extended. Give me just the right words to say to lift their spirit. Give me just the right actions that will remind them of how much you truly care about their lives. Fill me with your compassion, and make me to be Jesus to those who will only experience you through me.
Methodist bishop and circuit rider Francis Asbury offered this heartfelt prayer during his ministry days in the late 1700’s: “My God, keep me through the water and fire, and let me rather die than live to sin against thee!” That is still a great prayer for you and me in the twenty-first century. What greater desire than to love God so much and to have such gratitude in our hearts for what he has done for us that the possibility of sinning against him would simply be the worst thing we could think of. May God give us a heart like that, and answer every prayer like that.
A Simple Prayer for Moral Purity:
Dear God, keep me in your loving hands through times of trial and the testing of my faith, but also keep me pure and true through seasons of success, fortune and fame. And at all times, let me rather die than live to sin against you!
The brilliant thinker Henri Nouwen said, “To live and work for the glory of God cannot remain an idea about which we think once in a while. It must become an interior, unceasing doxology.” Imagine if we made that the subject of our praying without ceasing: that at day’s end, it would be said of us that the glory of God alone was our unceasing doxology. Truly, there is no greater purpose in living.
A Simple Prayer for Making God Famous:
Dear God, I exist through you and for you. That is my sole reason for being; it is my grand purpose for living. You have given me this one and only life so that I can use all that I am and all that I have to glorify you. When I drift from that, please forgive me and draw me back onto the path you have laid out for me. My simple prayer today as I journey through the next few hours is that you would keep me always conscious of you, that you would cause me to be addicted to your glory, that you would empower me to point others to you through everything I say and do, and that you would enable me to live in such a way that I bring a smile to your face. And at the end of this day, may I have done my part to make you famous.
Our sense of worth, along with our fundamental self-identity, comes from what we believe people think of us. And it colors everything we see, feel, think and do. That’s too bad! We ought to rather base it on what God thinks of us! And what does he think? How does he see us? Just look at the cross of Christ. God loves you so unconditionally, unstoppably, inexhaustibly much that he gave his one and only Son to redeem you and bring you into his forever family. You are not loved because you are valuable; you are of inestimable valuable because Who loves you!
A Simple Prayer for Grasping Gods Love:
Dear God, through the revealing work of your Holy Spirit, help me to grasp that I am the one you love. Help me to see how wide, long, high and deep is your love for me. Remind me throughout the day to look at the cross of Christ, with Jesus’ arms stretched from right to left, as if he is saying, “This is how much I love you.” Root my identity in your love, establish my worldview in your love, color my every word and deed through your love, and grant me divine power to live as the beloved of God. Throughout the day, may these transforming words be on my lips: “I am the one the Father loves!”
The God who is able to keep you from falling in your eternal salvation is just as able to keep you from stumbling in the daily journey of that same salvation. At this moment he is giving you the will to and the power to work out your salvation with deep commitment and unfading energy. By far, God bears the yeoman’s share of getting you to your eternal destination, so work with him a little in the next step or two.
A Simple Prayer for Sustained Effort:
Dear God, as I enter the second week of this year, having submitted my desires to your scrutiny and requested your blessings up my goals, I now ask you to sustain my progress. Help me to take the next step of faith, to do the next right thing, to love the next person you place in my path, to exhibit the character of Christ in the next moment, even when I am tired, distracted or just want to give into my selfish, disobedient, short-sighted flesh. You have promised to keep me from falling and bring me to glory on the final day, but I pray that you will keep me from falling today. You have promised to finish the work you’ve begun in me, but I pray that you will advance that work even in the next few moments. Help me to keep putting one footstep of faith in front of the other, until I string together a long obedience in the same direction. Make me an example of an enduring disciple. And may I glorify you every day and in every way even in the minute details of my life. In the name of your Son and my Savior, Jesus, I pray. Amen.
God has no reluctance granting the desires that he has placed in your heart. So surrender your wants to him and invite him to replace them with what he wants. His are far better, infinitely so, than what you could ever imagine.