Several weeks ago the reality of COVID-19 on our own British shores became real. Although we’d been praying in our church services against the virus taking hold across the world, the reality of its impact became clear. Lockdown began.
The result? I knew I needed help. I started praying more. I expect you did too. Things we took for granted were suddenly uncertain. I prayed for the health of family members. I prayed I wouldn’t get sick. I prayed that we might have food. I prayed against fear and anxiety. I prayed for local and national government.
The truth was, I suddenly saw how little I was in control and how much I needed to ask God for his help. For the help which only he can give.
I continue to pray. But I noticed something this week. Lockdown has become familiar. The new routine has gained a certain level of comfort. I’m no longer worrying about our family being able to get food. The virus, whilst being devastating in many ways, has not impacted as many people in our church and city as I expected.
The result? I’m not praying with the same intensity as I was. It’s almost as if a certain level of control has returned. I’m not so clearly aware of my own individual human helplessness. And so my felt need to approach my all powerful loving Father has decreased.
Perhaps you’re the same, or maybe you’re a much more consistent person than I am.
But this realisation reminded me of some words I read recently. In his book “A Praying Life,” Paul Miller writes:
The very thing we are allergic to – our helplessness – is what makes prayer work. It works because we are helpless. We can’t do life on our own.
We can’t do life on our own. I couldn’t before lockdown. And I can’t in lockdown. But the old trio that work against asking God for help – the world, the flesh and the devil – breathe the air of “being in control” into our lungs.
And what do we see in the Bible?
I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. (Psalm 121:1-2).
Time and time again the Psalms admit that only God can help. He alone is our help and shield (Psalm 33:20). And we need his help, for without him we are poor and needy (Psalm 70).
Jesus seemed to respond immediately to those – like the Roman centurion (Matthew 8) or the Syro-Phoenician woman (Mark 7) – who asked for his help because they knew only he could help.
Our God helps. He invites us to ask for his help. And we need his help, whether in pandemic or not.
We all need to ask for help. Confident that God hears us through Jesus, we all can ask for help.
About anything. And everything: more faith, less anxiety, help with the kids, daily bread, concerns for loved ones, help for others, faith for others, the list goes on.
The question is, will we admit we are simply not in control and keep asking the Helper to help?
With love in Christ,