Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Prayer God Will Always Say Yes To (second in a series of ten)

What prayer do you think God might answer the fastest, a prayer that is so effective you can get your answer sometimes even within the hour? In fact, handle this prayer with care, God answers it with such speed, consistency and reliability.

“God, please use me to help someone in need.” “God, please make me an instrument to carry out some important mission of mercy for you.”

Be ready. This person may be someone you know, a friend or neighbor or family member. Or they may be someone you don’t particularly like, or who doesn’t think too much of you. You may not know this person, but God will make you aware of your need, and His intention that you should help.

This has been God’s intention all along for His people – believers are described as being members of one body, with the Lord Jesus Christ as the head. God intends to take care of us through each other, and to bring love and mercy to the rest of the world through us. That’s what it means to be God’s hands and feet – we are ready and actively looking for people to go to and things to do for them.

When you and I pray this prayer we are really following the pattern that God Himself uses all the time. We’re modeling ourselves after God. God calls us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves – meaning to take care of each other as well as we take care of ourselves. Jesus said the world would recognize us by the way we love each other. “God, please use me to help someone in need.”

At the heart of love is self-giving, doing for others, finding joy in expressing God’s giving as He gives to me. This prayer ties into the essence of Who God is, God is love. We are really asking God to come into our lives and act through us. When you and I are serious about that, sincerely asking God to make us an instrument of His love and mercy to someone else, then the act of praying will become the act of loving your neighbor.

When you and I help someone we reduce the amount of suffering in the world, we become part of the process of God working things together for good.

Now you might be thinking “I need someone to pray that for me! I’m the one who needs help!” But here’s a really wonderful truth. Whoever loses her life for Jesus sake will gain it. No matter how many problems you and I have, there will always be opportunities for us to help someone else in some way, and we will discover there is real joy in that. When you get into this, you will discover that your problems will seem a little smaller, because you were God’s instrument of love and mercy, and lessened the suffering in someone’s life.

And you will also discover another aspect of the truth that what you sow you will also reap. If you sow to the Spirit, in love and mercy, and a willingness to serve, looking for ways to help others, that will also be your harvest in life.


These thoughts on prayer are taken from the Catholic author Anthony DeStefano's delightful book, "Ten Prayers God Always Says Yes To: Divine Answers To Life's Most Difficult Problems."

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