The Prayer of Helplessness – Part 2 of 5 Learning About Prayer

Over the last few weeks of Hilda’s time on earth, I tried to do what I could to help her. She had been through 4 major surgeries, and now was at home with Daniel and I for three days before an emergency return to Hamilton’s Juravinski Hospital. Hilda was there for a day and a half, and then was transported (along with her friend Alison) to a hospice in Cambridge, near to our home.

These three days at home with Hilda were so precious. She was very weak and in extreme pain. It appeared that this would be her condition ongoing, leading to treatments of chemo, radiation and possibly more surgery. It was a terribly bleak time for Hilda, and for Daniel and me. We continued to pray for her healing. God had healed her many times in the past. Surely He would do so again. That was my hope and belief. It did not turn out as expected for any of us. We longed to see Hilda healed but still be with us in our home.

As these days moved along, the feeling of helplessness on my part was growing. Aside from a miracle from God, Hilda would not be with us much longer. I had always done everything I could to love, bless and help Hilda.

What Have You Felt Helpless to Change?

Have you ever realized your own helplessness. Perhaps it isn’t caring for a sick family member. Perhaps it’s not knowing how to help someone close to you who is suffering from mental illness. Or maybe it’s not seeing a breakthrough to an addiction you are struggling to break. Maybe it’s our own feelings of inadequacy for the life God has given us. We are all given challenges during our lives, to see what we will do with our helplessness. God wants to see where we will go for help.

When we feel hemmed in, even out of control, God may be wanting to show us that He is real, and more than willing and adequate to deal with our problems.

The last day in hospital for Hilda, several doctors came to her and Alison her friend who was with her. They told her that there was no longer anything they could do for her medically. No chemo, radiation or surgery was possible. But, they acknowledged the peace of God in her room. Hilda was fully relying on God. Hilda’s kind lady surgeon could no longer help her. Her loving, adoring husband could not help her. (tears). Only Jesus was able to help her. Jesus was so near to her over the last two days. It was not easy for Hilda or for me. It was however the answer to our prayers for her to be healed. Hilda is now completely healed, in Jesus’ presence, young, vibrant, happy and enjoying her eternal rewards while waiting for us to join her in Heaven.

For me the feeling of helplessness was profound. I had to release Hilda into Jesus’ care. The last night spent with her in the hospice was just Hilda, Jesus and me. It was so hard, but so healing, to release her for this short stint on earth, until we would be re-united to spend eternity together in Heaven.

Jesus Is There For Us When We Ask For His Help

Jesus wants us to realize our helplessness without Him. He said “without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). He even told us that He Himself had the same helplessness when He was in the flesh, walking on the earth. He told His disciples, “I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me” (John 5:30).

The Bible points out that we are even helpless in our spiritual lives. We may feel an impulse towards God. So WE think that WE are reaching out to God. Not so! Rather, Jesus told us, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him” (John 6:44). We want salvation from our sins, and eternal life. That’s good. Do we think we can earn salvation? NO! The truth is, it is a gift from God, not because of our good works. We are helpless to save ourselves.

But what if we have received God’s gift of being “Born Again” by accepting Jesus as our Saviour, believing that He is the Son of God who paid for our sins by dying on the cross for us. That is where New Life begins. We were helpless to make ourselves good enough for that. And now we are still helpless to become more like Jesus through our own efforts. The virtues seen in Jesus of faith, joy, peace of mind, patience, the ability to love the wretched and unlovely. These too, are gifts of God’s and grow in us as fruits of the Holy Spirit who comes to live in us. Galatians 5:22-23 tells us they can be produced in us only by the Holy Spirit, not our own efforts. Even in our walk to become more like Jesus, we need Him, because we are helpless to be more loving or to be more patient in our own strength.

This glorious promise from God makes up a thousand times over for our helplessness… “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). Jesus is telling us that our all-powerful Creator, God, who is right here with us by His Holy Spirit, is above all of our problems and can deal with them more perfectly than we realize.

With helplessness alone, we would be like a bird flying with only one wing. But when the other wing of God’s adequacy is added to our helplessness, then the bird can soar triumphantly above and through the problems that have defeated us.

God Hears Our Desperate Prayers

When we pray and admit our helplessness, we face up to the true facts of our human situation. We lay down a foundation of truth, rather than self-delusion or wishful thinking. This deals a mortal blow to the sin of our own independence, of feeling we can ignore God. We cannot learn first-hand about God, what He is like, His great love for us as individuals, or His great power, until we admit our helplessness. We need to admit that we can no longer rely on ourselves or other people to solve the problems we face.

Fellowship with Jesus is the true purpose of life and the only foundation for our future life in eternity. Jesus is offering us real, daily fellowship with Himself.

So if your plans are crumbling, like mine did, hoping to have Hilda with me here on earth for many more years, if human props (like medical help) have been knocked over, or doors have shut in your face, take heart. God is trying to get a message out to you. The message is “Stop depending on inadequate human resources. Let me handle your problems.”

Talk To God About Your Helpless Situation

Speak out to God your prayer of helplessness. Where do you need His help? Maybe it’s too many areas to name. Just admit your need and ask God for His help. This may be painful. I had to surrender my desire to help Hilda to the Lord, and admit only He could help her.

Then, grip with strength of will your belief that God can do through you what you cannot. It may seem like you are relying on emptiness, like dangling over a cliff, holding onto a tiny branch. Disregard those feelings, and trust God. Thank Him that He is working things out for you. Then watch for opening doors. When the right door opens, you will have a quiet inner assurance that God’s hand is on the doorknob. That is your time to take action. That is an opportunity for creativity.

One sunny day in the future, you will look back and your heart will overflow with praise to God that He cared for you enough to shut you up with Him alone. Helplessness in our situations turns our attention to God so that He can show what He will do in our life.

Lord, the emptier my cup is, the more room there is for you to fill it with your love and supply. Lord God, I hand you this situation of ____________________________, asking You to fill it with Your supply, in Your time, and Your own way. Thank you Father in Heaven for the riches you give us, when we are helpless in ourselves and turn to you for help.

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