Dear God, Help!

Dear God HelpThis past Sunday, in our sermon series on the power and practice of prayer, we ask the question “How Do We Pray for Guidance?” This blog post is a reflection on that question.

WWJD 2

What Would Jesus Do?  The bracelets became popular in the 1990’s.  Like any other phrase that gets overused, it tends to lose its intrinsic meaning.  Instead, it becomes another slogan.  We see WWJD –and rather than asking ourselves the question, we would move past it.  Oh, that again.

The purpose of the bracelets was to remind us that God knows the answer to our dilemma, to seek out God’s help with a solution, to believe God really will help, and then do something that lines up with God’s teachings.

When I was a little girl, my dad would tell me if I had to make a decision, the harder thing to do was the right thing to do.  I have relied on that small piece of advice throughout my life and it hRailroad Tracksas never failed me.  It has worn me out, enriched my life, taken me on twisted paths with dark corners and cobwebs, and always shined a light on something I needed to know.

My dad was not a religious man.  He didn’t attend church except for baptisms and weddings.  Despite that, he taught me how to seek solutions to my dilemmas, in a manner consistent with the teachings of Jesus.  I’ll never know if that was his intent or why he never came to church with us, although he drove us faithfully every Sunday.  He died when I was 10, too young to ask about that reasons behind his words.  I believed his words as I believed what I heard in Sunday School.  I took it all to heart without question.

Jesus on the cross

Jesus never took the easy way.  From associating with outcasts to dying on the cross, his choices, although the right ones, were always the harder choices. When we look to God for answers and direction, it takes me back to what would Jesus do?  While its WWJD bracelets may have lost their shine, the question remains boldly telling.

humilityWhen we take our challenges to God in prayer, we must first relinquish our power and accept that God has the answer for us.  We can’t go seeking a rubber stamp for our own opinions.  We must go with an open heart, a willingness to listen and the humility of knowing that we know very little.  If we go to God seeking a second to our motion, full of pride and knowing, our hearts and ears will hear nothing.  God’s voice needs a humble listener with a certain acknowledgement that God knows the answer.Ask God 2

Next, we must ask for help from God, admit our confusion and lay it all out there.  Never mind that God already knows what we want, we have to make the ask.  We have to first humble ourselves in acknowledging our limited knowing and then humble ourselves further by saying we don’t know what to do.  The extra step of asking cements our humility and clarifies for ourselves what we are truly seeking.  Being forced to ask the question, candidly and with careful thoughtfulness, often helps to identify the real quandary and opens us to receive the answer.

When we have removed the arrogance of our own ideas and knelt our ears in humility, God’s voice will bellow into our hearts.

Keep Faith 2

When we ask God for help, we have to keep faith that God really will come through for us.  Proverbs 4:18 says, “The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.” The more we seek, the more we will see God’s direction.  The more frequently we ask, the keener the insight we will have about what it is we are asking.  With every prayer, God’s voice will become more distinct and our path will get brighter and brighter “like the full light of day”.

Finally, when we have asked God for help, humbly, truly and repeatedly asked, we have to be prepared to take action.  Hard StepsSeeking guidance is powerful but nothing happens without taking the path God has lit for us.  This is what my dad spoke so well.  We have to do something.  Make the harder choice of doing rather than continuing to contemplate or complain.  Take the steps to resolve our problem in a manner that lines up with God’s teachings.

So how do we pray for guidance?  What would Jesus do?

  • Bathe in Humility.
  • Make the Ask.
  • Keep the Faith.
  • Take the Hard Steps.

That’s what Jesus would do.  The Bible tells us so.

Autumn is a writer, educator and a non-profit consultant. More importantly, she is a wife, mom, grandma, cousin, friend, neighbor and owned by a dog and two cats. Check out her blog at https://enterwithagentleheart.wordpress.com/.  You can also reach her at amlubin@gmail.com or find her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/yellowwoodpathways