My cellphone rang shortly after reading the “Cry Out!” Challenge for Day 27 this morning. It was about someone dear to me and it was news I was not prepared for or ever wanted to receive: the Chemo isn’t doing the work! I felt helpless! And I remembered what I had read earlier that morning:
Cry Out! in Helplessness
I am the vine you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.John 15:5, NLT
Some time ago, while reading the classic book Prayer by the Norwegian theologian O. Hallesby, I gained fresh understanding of what most of my prayers were lacking –the humility to see my utter helplessness. Prayer is not using God to my own ends nor attempting to make something happen. Prayer is coming to God, admitting my helpless state, and acknowledging my deep, gut-level need. “Prayer and helplessness are inseparable,” Hallesby wrote. “Only those who are helpless can truly pray.”
I began to understand. From the moment I acknowledge my helplessness, the Lord becomes actively engaged in hearing my cry. He stoops down to help me. “Our helplessness is one continuous appeal to His father-heart,” Hallesby says. We may feel our helplessness is overwhelming, like a cyclone in the center of our lives. But in God’s sight, our helplessness is both the foundation and the sustaining power of our prayer life.
We tell God how powerless we are by nature to love others, to believe His promises, to hope, to serve, to practice the spiritual disciplines, to struggle against our fleshly desires, to suffer well. This acknowledgement of helplessness puts us in a position to be helped.
[We need to daily open our door and allow Jesus access to our hopeless messes] –And in our helplessness, we will see the power of God work in and through us. (Cry Out! Challenge, Day 27, Revive Our Hearts Ministry)
For apart from me you can do nothing.
Whom have I in heaven but You? I desire you more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.Psalm 73:25-26
Lord, we are weak –we confess our need for help in loving others well, in believing your promises are sure, in the everyday struggles of this life, not to mention suffering well! Thank you for your strength that never runs out. In humility, Lord, we cry out for your sustaining grace that will help in time of need!