A Prayer for Those Trying to Make it in Their Own Strength
By: Maggie Meadows Cooper
May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord. - 2 Peter 1:2
A couple of years ago, my toddler was becoming more and more independent. One of her newest tricks was dressing herself, and I was thrilled about this new skill! Most days though, it still needed a little tweaking. One morning, I heard her screaming through tears at her brother, who made her come completely unhinged by offering to help her get dressed. I found her stuck in a strappy tank top that she attempted to put on herself. Arms were stuck every which-a-way, and she was hopelessly tangled up in it.
I looked at my sweet girl sitting on the floor in a puddle of tears and frustration, and my heart went out to her, because I knew how she felt. As I pulled her up on my lap, she buried her head in my shoulder. I explained that we all want to do things ourselves, but sometimes we just need a little help from someone bigger. Those words left my mouth, and I realized that I needed to hear them too.
This world tries to make us believe we are strong and independent and fully capable of handling everything ourselves. It tells us we don't need help. That we can, and should, do it all on our own!
But if that is true, then I am a failure in the world's eyes. I get set for my "strappy tank top" of a day. I set it up just right for every part to fall into place. But before I know it, the work strap is crossed over the mama strap and the dinner strap is tangled in the kids’ activity strap, and I end up looking like my sweet baby did. Tangled up, frustrated, and no good to anyone. And ya' know why? Because I tried to rearrange and schedule and plan all on my own, without asking for help from the One who is the biggest of all.
Here are a couple of things to remember when you are ready to ask the Lord for help:
1. Pray. Pray again. And accept grace.
Before my feet hit the floor most mornings, I pray for the Lord to direct my day. I pray over my babies and husband and what we will face in the hours to come. I ask Him for wisdom and strength and patience in the situations I may encounter. I pray for a gentle, kind spirit and to speak life to those around me. And some days, I rest in His help and those prayers.
But others, I walk out the door and completely forget what I just prayed for. My own plan and strength and pride try to make it own their own. And I miss His hand in the moments of my day.
In the intro of 1 and 2 Peter, he said, "May God give you more and more grace and peace." I don't think that extra "more" was an accident. I think Peter, knowing his own weakness, knew that those reading his letter would mess up. He knew we would need "more and more" grace... and more and more help. And we will.
So, if you ask for the Lord to help you... and you mess it up and take over... don’t be ashamed or afraid to ask again. His resources and love and mercy and grace are never-ending.
2. His help may not look like what we expect, so be prepared.
You know that story about the man adrift in a boat who asked the Lord to save him? A plane flew by, a cruise ship came by, and something else I don't remember, and they all offered to pick him up. He turned them all down. When he got to heaven, he asked the Lord why He didn't save him, and the Lord explained that He tried to, but all of His attempts were turned down!
Well, the Lord's help and guidance most likely won't be through a bolt of lightning or force of nature. It might be a friend, loved one, co-worker, or total stranger who "happens" to be right there when you need them. It might be an inconvenience in your day like running late or a forgotten item that the Lord can use. You just never know who or what He might send to be your help and encouragement.
It's okay to NEED help. It's okay to WANT help. And it's okay to ASK for help!
Don't wait until you are "stuck" in a predicament that you can't get yourself out of. Don't spread yourself thin and wear yourself out to exhaustion. The older I get, the more I accept help when it is offered, ask for it myself, and try to extend it to those around me.
“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:15-16
Help me to open my heart and eyes and ears to be aware of those around me. Please give me the good sense to ask for help when needed, offer help when I’m able, humbly accept help from those around me when it’s extended, and put my hope in the One who loves me most. Remind me that in my own strength, I am so very weak, but with you, I am strong. Thank you for being my Rock, Fortress, Refuge, and Redeemer.
In Your Mighty Name,
Maggie Meadows Cooper is a wife, mom, educator, author, and blogger with a longing for women to grow a heart for Jesus and others. She is the author of the children’s book “Bumper” and blogs at The Little Moments about what the Lord is teaching her through her children and everyday life. She contributes to Blogs by Christian Women, Devotional Diva, She Disciples, and Connecting Ministries. An educator with a M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education from Auburn University (War Eagle!), she has twenty years of experience working with young children. She loves all things chocolate, real Coca-Cola, and lives with her husband, three children, and two rambunctious dogs in Opelika, Alabama.
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