Tag: Prayer

Helping Oneself

QA #16 – Melissa H. – I am trying to understand the phrase, “God helps those who help themselves.” I have told my family members that I am trying to seek God’s will and what He has planned for my future (career, living situations, etc) and sometimes certain family members will say, “You need to help (or lookout for) yourself.” And from my perspective, that makes me think, leaving God out of the picture, and then once I help myself, God will follow. I’m not sure if that has the same meaning as the first quotation, but I don’t understand the mindset.

I know I cannot sit back and relax and God will just work, I need to take a step in some direction and see if God opens a door. I guess I should ask them what they mean when they say it, but I’m wondering what you have experienced with those situations.

Dave – Great question and thanks for sending it.

Your perception of what your relatives have said to you is correct. The spirit behind it comes straight from this world, not God’s Kingdom. It is a spirit of humanism which asserts that humans are here to fend for themselves, and, if there is a god, he/she/it has given humans abilities and therefore the rest of life is up to them to make something for themselves. It smacks in the face of John 15 which talks about how fallen human must totally depend upon God for everything. We can do nothing apart form Jesus, according to this Word.

Now let’s turn to God’s Word for further insight. Proverbs 19:9 states, “The mind of man plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.” Combine this with Proverbs 16:3 which says, “Commit your works to the LORD and your plans will be established.

So it seems to me that God expects us to make plans, but not apart from His spirit, Word, or counsel. If our lives are truly submitted to Him and we are living for His Kingdom on earth rather than our own, then He will guide our plan-making and cause us to succeed. So, if you come up with some plan or direction for your life, submit it to God and pray about it. Another option for major decisions is to consult a pastor. It is his job to guide “the sheep.” Therefore, he will have an anointing from the Holy Spirit to do so. It is good for us to tap into that source that God has provided within His Church.

The spirit of this world, which will never recognize the Spirit of God (John 14:17), hates when people depend on God. Hence, the flak you have sensed from your relatives is normal. Love and respect them, but do not allow that spirit to control you.

Melissa H. – Thank you Dave, that helped a lot! The Proverb verses you mentioned were really helpful too and I will continue to look upon those verses. You also reaffirmed that I need to take action on what Pastor Bruce told me when I met with him a few weeks ago. Thank you again for your help! I really appreciate your spiritual guidance.

N.F. – Great answers!

Q & A: Is it appropriate to pray against our perceived enemies?

Anonymous – Is it appropriate to pray against our perceived enemies? This includes praying against fellow Christians, if necessary. I do think there are a lot of people who demonstrate evil behavior while claiming to be a Christian. We often hear about the importance of praying for our enemies; however, at times, it seems more appropriate to pray right against them. If you can, please give examples of people in the Bible dealing with this dilemma.

Dave – Thanks for the question. When David needed protection, he ran to God for refuge. David prayed that God would rise up against his enemies in Psalm 7. This type of prayer is called an imprecatory prayer. Two questions arise: 1) Was David out of the spirit by selfishly praying for the downfall of his enemies? and 2) Is it right for us to pray this type of prayer today?

In John 15:25, Jesus quotes Psalm 35:19 and 69:4, and Paul did so as well in Romans 11:9-10, which is a quote of Psalm 69:22-23. Since Jesus and Paul quoted verses from these imprecatory psalms, it proves those psalms were inspired by God and removes all doubt that they were sinful or simply selfish prayers of revenge. Since Jesus wants us to pray for our enemies, however, I find it difficult to justify asking Him to destroy someone. Rather we should pray that the evil spirit working through that person be stopped because the New Testament reveals that our battle is not against flesh and blood but against evil spiritual powers (Ephesians 6). In addition, Jesus’ disciples were about to pray that God would send lightening down onto a village where they were rejected, but Jesus warned them not to do so because they did not realize what spirit they were of at that moment (Luke 9:55).

In the case of a bin Laden-type, I think it’s good to ask God to stop him, leaving the HOW up to God alone. After all, we are to be “salt” in this earth (preserver of righteousness). Jesus did say if a person lives by the sword, he will die by the sword. So it comes as no surprise that bin Laden met with violent deaths.

Feedback so far:

Anonymous (the questioner) – Great response brother, thank you.

Nels F. – Wonderful answer my friend–for I too have often wondered how to pray for folks I can’t stand—
for all the evil they are doing–what I do– I pray in the spirit for them until I find peace!

Mark D. – Great answer!

Cindi L. – It’s interesting when you read Ps. 69:21 is prophetically speaking of when they offered Christ
vinegar on the cross…in Ps. 69:22-28 is pretty condemning – when you turn to the NEW Testament where
this happened recorded in Luke 23:36 Jesus said just before that in verse 34forgive them because they know not what they do“. Dave, I think your Eph. 6 reminder is the toughest one for me to constantly retrain my fleshly brain – I think it is an excellent standard to keep reaching for – doing spiritual warfare. No wonder we have to be constantly “renewed in the spirit of our minds“..Eph. 4:23. I think we are suppose to pray against the “spirit that is at work in the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2, 5:6, Colossians 3:6). I think your response to this question is very good. I also think that David was physically fighting for the continuation of God’s “kingdom” on earth and now we fight spiritually for that.

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