The Prayer of Helplessness

Thursday 23rd March
2 Corinthians 12:9
My grace is sufficient for you,
my power is made perfect in weakness
Prayer and helplessness are inseparable.
Only those who are helpless can truly pray
Your helplessness is your best prayer.
– Ole Hallesby

Yesterday I spoke of being called to prayer
when we cannot sleep at night.
What makes the night time such a powerful time for prayer
is because it is often when we feel most vulnerable.
It is a time when we often feel most alone,
when our anxieties and fears come crashing in
and we are helpless to stop them.
As Ole Hallesby says in today’s quote,
our helplessness is our best prayer.
Our helplessness reminds us of our need for God,
and opens us to God.
Our helplessness also reminds us of our need for each other,
our need for love.
We are all united by our helplessness and our vulnerability
and it is a perfect invitation to hold each other in prayer.
Our helplessness far from being our biggest weakness,
actually becomes our greatest strength.
Our helplessness opens us to God and opens us to each other
and in that openness is true relationship,
and true relationship is the foundation of prayer.
So let’s not despise our weak moments,
our vulnerability or our helplessness,
allow them to be a call that draws us into prayer
and communion with God and each other.

When in Hours of Fear and Failing by Novalis
(translated by George McDonald)

When in hours of fear and failing,
All but quite our heart despairs;
When with sickness driven to wailing,
Anguish at our bosom tears;
When our loved ones we remember;
All their grief and trouble rue;
And the clouds of our December
Let no beam of hope shine through;

Oh but then God bends him o’er us
Then his love grows very clear
Long we heavenward then – before us
Lo, his angel standing near!
Fresh the cup of life he reaches;
Whispers courage, comfort new;
Nor in vain our prayer beseeches
Rest for our beloved ones too.