“God, help me!”
How many times have I let out that cry? In frustration, in fear, in desperation. Sometimes that is the only cry my heart and mind can produce in the instant that I cry out to God like that. But then I have a moment of clarity when I regroup and pray more in depth about what is troubling me. That is because God and I are on a first name basis. I spend a lot of time in prayer these days. And more often than not, I spend my prayer time praising and listening to God.
However, there have been times in my life when the only prayer I ever sent up was “God, help me!” or “God, I need something!” As you can probably imagine, those prayers never got answered. Not because God didn’t hear me and not because He didn’t care that I needed Him, but because I was asking the wrong question in the wrong way.
Our relationship with God is not about paying our fire insurance to keep us out of Hell. It is not about presenting our wish list to Him to have our requests granted. It isn’t even about having an all-powerful God to take our needs to when we have problems. God loves us. He made us. And He wants a real, no-strings-attached kind of relationship with us. He wants us to know Him intimately, to love Him for the amazing God that He is, to praise Him because He is worthy. That’s all.
Our needs…our wish list…our desperate prayers for help…none of that is what God is interested in. Does He hear our prayers? Yes. Does He answer our prayers? Absolutely. I can give you some very powerful examples of God answering specific prayers in my life. But if the only prayer you ever pray is “God, help me!” You can count on it that you probably aren’t getting an answer to that one.
First, because it is too vague. Even though God knows our needs and our hearts, our prayers should be specific and focused to do the most amount of good. Second, because God isn’t interested in being your emergency hotline if He isn’t on your speed dial. He wants a relationship, not an occasional cry of desperation.
Our goal should be to spend so much time with God – in His word and in prayer – to know Him so well that our will is aligned with His. That way, when we pray, He will always answer our prayers. After all, if your children only ever asked you for things that were good for them, things that you wanted to give them and had the ability to give them, you would always say yes.
That is what God wants from our prayer life…not for us to ask for our needs and Him supply them, but for us to completely surrender to Him and want what He wants so that He can readily give it to us. It doesn’t happen overnight, and it is not as easy as it sounds. We are flawed, human. But God knows that and He loves us anyway.
So, start wherever you are. If the only prayer you have sent up lately is “God, help me!” Try praising Him for a change. Get to know God, love Him for who He is. And you will be surprised at how many of your needs He meets just by being close to you. It is perfectly fine to ask God for help. But don’t stop with a desperate plea. Dig into His word, pray diligently and draw close to Him in praise. Only then will you find the help that you so desperately need from Him. Only then will your prayer be answered.