“Help me” prayers don’t help

IMG_0249I have been steeped this week in a study on wisdom, understanding and attitude. As I am on day 3 of the study I was stuck by the fact that, “Our decisions shape our lives.” I thought about how many major life intersections I have had to navigate and how when one direction was taken, of necessity, the others were shut down. Every decision forged without input from God lead me away from understanding His ways. Yes, I learned even when wrong choices were made, but I missed walking with Him and experiencing what would have happened had I done it His way.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
    all who follow his precepts have good understanding. Psalm 111:10

Gaining Godly wisdom is experiential. You learn it by doing it. If you aren’t doing it, you aren’t learning. So many wasted years… Andrea Dawn says that “Every happening great and small, is a parable whereby God speaks to us . . . and the art of life is to get the message.” In today’s vernacular when we understand something we say, “I get it.” God wants us to “get it,” but we won’t unless we situate ourselves to hear Him and learn from Him. Having a heart that is poised toward God is how we situate ourselves to learn from Him.

One of the fastest ways to learn from Him is to decide to walk with Him minute by minute. When I was a much younger woman I was privileged to be a part of a woman’s group lead by Erma Maust. She was a dear woman of the Word and in a retreat setting she shared with us a prayer tip that has helped me ever since she shared it. She said that every time she saw the words “help me” in a prayer, she would substitute the words “I choose”.  The word substitution necessitated that she be proactive; she found she had to get her heart in order to choose aright. Choosing was an action she had to do rather than waiting on God to “do something” for her.

She said, “Many times God could not do anything because I was not situated so that He could.”

She taught me that God was a gentleman and would not force me to do what I did not want to do. He gave me a free will and He hasn’t changed His mind about that privilege. So, rather crossroads-in-the-forest-tn-20624than say, “Help me study harder or help me love more or help me always seek You before I make decisions”, Erma taught me to pray, “I choose to study harder or I choose to love more or I choose to seek You before I make decisions.” Wow, when I began to pray like that, I discovered that it surely changed the dynamic. I found myself being a lot more thoughtful about what I prayed. If I was telling God I was choosing to do something, that was a whole lot more binding than asking Him to do something for me. Prayer became a starter switch rather than a suggestion box. Using an artist analogy, if I prayed that I had decided to paint a picture, I would begin to think about how to paint it and what supplies I would need to gather to do it. Once I did that, God would bring colors to mind and, perhaps, being someone alongside to teach me the needed brushstrokes. So many times I knew exactly what God wanted me to do, but I didn’t do it because it was difficult. I actually wanted Him to do it so I said, “help me.”. When He didn’t help me it was because I wasn’t doing anything he could help me with. Choosing what I know He wants me to do, He empowers each baby step I make, but I must make the step first. That first step is choosing. This has been revelatory.

For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure. Philippians 2:13 (KJV)

He is with us,



3 comments on ““Help me” prayers don’t help

  1. I have found I am praying with scripture …today Isaiah chapters 50-55… there God impresses upon me His character, His will and His working in my life… tomorrow I will find myself in some other portion of scripture… when I know not how I ought to pray the Spirit groaneth for me and I find release praying His word,
    So many are challenged these days with raging battles and the internet brings so much more to our doorstep than we might otherwise experience. We carry so much.
    I find my strength in singing old hymns and praise songs, praying His word and resting in some quiet spot and releasing all to Him.
    It has been a long and quiet winter. God has given me a rest in HIm I have never experienced. It has been His gift to me because I sense I need this rest for the work before me. I don’t know what it is but trust His hand to lead me on.
    Father help me to be more like Jesus.
    Help me lay down my life
    Help me take up my cross
    Blessed is the one who taketh not offense… Father help me to not take offence….
    so now after reading your post:
    I choose to be more like Jesus
    I choose to lay down my life
    I choose to not take offense
    Lord, could you still help me 🙂

  2. I read this earlier, and I went away to chew on it for a while. All I can say is, “wow!” This really was a two-edged sword for me, Dawn. I think of how, all my life, I have cried to the Lord, “Help me!” I can’t help but feel that through your post, He has pulled back the curtain that was making a blind spot for me. That cry of “help me” always gave me a way out. If I didn’t FEEL like there was some magical force of strength bolting through me, then I didn’t have to do whatever it was I was asking help for. I pictured myself like a scared dog in a doghouse that needed a chain around my neck to pull me out. I thought back to the most recent “Help Me” cry, and wondered if I could say instead, “I choose to. . .”. Nope! I no more wanted to do that thing than the man in the moon. I loved the fisherlady’s response today. I will choose all of those things, too. No more, “Help me’s”. Thank you, Dawn.

  3. “…..but I didn’t do it because it was difficult.” ……..”sigh….” Wonder how much of that water ran under my bridge. I choose… to lose weight… Oh yeah… There’s a biggie for me. I choose…. to pray every time I start to open my mouth… Hmmm… Ouch. Such a valuable post, Dawn.

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