A Prayer to Know How to Help
By: Kristine Brown

“Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.” -Proverbs 19:17 ESV

Catastrophic events. They happen halfway across the world and also close to home. Something like a hurricane or wildfire can affect thousands. When we hear about these types of events, our inclination is to reach out and be “the hands and feet of Jesus” by doing what we can to help those in need.

But there are also those devastating personal circumstances that may only affect a few. Every day, people we know could be blindsided by a catastrophic event of their own. Our family, church friends, coworkers, and neighbors. In their world, the magnitude measures that of a tornado or tsunami, yet no one will see it on the news. We long to do something to help. But what? How do we help someone going through the worst experience of their life?

When Jesus walked on this earth, He made clear our commission to help the poor. Our church model today follows His example with outreach programs that give food, clothing, and shelter to those in need.

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“Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.” Proverbs 19:17 ESV

But Jesus also shared a valuable truth about who we are called to help. Because some catastrophic events leave us poor in basic necessities like a home or food to eat, but others will leave us poor in spirit.

Matthew 5:3 records Jesus’ words, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” When God tugs at our hearts and we feel compelled to help, we need to first decide how. Is there a physical need or an emotional one? Can I help by giving of my finances, my time, or just being there? God will guide us as we offer support to those suffering around us.

Maybe you know someone in a difficult situation today. Someone who needs help, but you aren’t sure where to start. Let’s reach out to the Lord through this prayer as we determine how to help someone in need. Then, we will be ready to reach out to others.

Dear Heavenly Father,

I understand that we will all experience those times in life that leave us devastated. Thank you for teaching us through your son Jesus how to help others going through tough times. Give me a heart to serve and a willingness to obey. Show me Your ways, Lord.

Sometimes I get overwhelmed looking at the needs around me. I want to help but don’t know where to start. I pray for wisdom and discernment as I reach out to others. Whether poor in provision or poor in spirit, You have provided ways I can help. Lead me as I use what you’ve given me to be the hands and feet of Jesus in my community.

With all the tragedies in the world, it’s easy to overlook the needs right around me. Direct me to those people in my own family, church, and neighborhood who need the love of Jesus right now. Show me how to be a friend to someone who needs that today. And when I’m in need, thank you for sending someone into my life to offer support and care.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.


For more spiritual growth resources, check out this free email study from Kristine Brown, Walking with Hagar: A 5-Day Challenge for Following God’s Plan. You’ll find weekly encouragement to help you “become more than yourself through God’s Word” at her website, kristinebrown.net. Kristine is the author of the book, Over It. Conquering Comparison to Live Out God’s Plan, and the companion devotional for teens.


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