Helping others – How God answers prayer

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helping othersHelping others – the Key to answered prayer

In order for a Christian to be of any use on this earth he or she must know the secret to answered prayer and have the experience of getting favorable answers to prayer. I have a friend that used to work with the airlines and she said that the instructions (in case of a loss of cabin pressure) for parents or guardians to place the air mask over their mouth first and then over their children reveals an important principle: take care of yourself first and then you can take care of others. The useful Christian must know how God uses man to fulfill His will in helping others. The initial condition is to have your own needs met.

Helping others – the key to being a real help

I know that may sound selfish to some but it is the truth. If you are asking yourself the question “How can I help others?” the answer is by knowing how God meets your needs and having the experience of receiving His provision on a regular basis. Jesus told His disciples “freely you have received, freely give.” The secret is to know that there is a divine sequence to spreading God’s blessing: God helping people, and then people helping others.

Helping others by understanding God’s purpose and intent

The Bible shows us that God has chosen to work in response to man’s prayer. First, God reveals His purpose to man so that man can understand the Lord’s intention. Then with the understanding of God’s intent man grows in conviction of the need for God’s will to be done. Third, man responds by praying to God in accordance with what has already been revealed. Finally, God does His work and accomplishes His purpose in response to man’s prayer. This is how God operates on the earth through His people.

A classic example of this can be found in Matthew 9:36-10:1

“But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”

And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease.”

First, the Lord is moved with compassion to save, second, He commanded His disciples to pray, third, they prayed, and last, God sent workers and He worked through them to save.

Prayer should always spring from the will of God. He fulfills His will, but He doesn’t do it directly; He uses man to cooperate with Him on earth. For this reason, He reveals His will to man and commands men to pray. Only after man prays will He act to fulfill His will. This is the function and purpose of prayer and how God operates on the earth.

When we understand the heart of God and the principle of how God answers prayer, we have the key to answered prayers! Do you want to know the secret of helping others? Follow these simple steps:

  • Understand God’s generous and gracious heart (by reading the bible)
  • Receive his provision in your own life (before trying to help others)
  • Discern the needs around you
  • Recognize that God is willing and ready to address those needs
  • Become the solution in the lives of those in need around you

My experience reveals an interesting pattern. I have noticed that a considerable number of Christians fall into one of two extremes: One extreme that people who have suffered great need and have experienced calamity in their lives fall into because they are more sensitive to the needs of others is that they feel the need of helping others escape what they have gone through. The problem is that these people have very little means, financially, emotionally, and sometimes physically because of health problems to be of any significant help to others. The tendency is for them to get sucked into the destroyed lives of others while their own lives are in shambles. Instead of being a real help to others they incur more damage to themselves. They shouldn’t yet consider the matter of helping others because they are in no position to help anyone. They need to put their oxygen mask on first, so that they don’t pass out while trying to put one on others.

The other extreme is the lamentable tendency for Christians who learn to get their needs met, live in health and have a structured and ordered life to forget about the needs of others. Selfishness plagues these prosperous Christians. They have forgotten God’s heart and the divine sequence of God helping people and people helping others.

The ideal is to avoid both extremes recognizing that you can’t give what you don’t have and you must share what you have freely received from God’s hand. Be wise and be grateful. Wisdom will protect you from the first extreme and gratefulness will protect you from the other.

2 Responses to “Helping others – How God answers prayer”

  1. Todd says:

    I think the bible tells different. In 1 Kings Elijah tells a woman make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son. I think the only reason there was always enough is because she obeyed. If she did not obey they would have ran out. And with the feeding of the five thousand. We are not told if if they boy had eaten first or not. But he may have gave to others first. And wen they people were commanded to tithe they were to give ten percent of what they had before keeping for themselves. I hear many people say the only way to have joy is to put Jesus first, others second, and yourself last.

    • vinebrancher says:

      There is a different principle involved here.
      Elijah as God’s prophet represented God. He tested the her faith, she could have blown him off but she perceived that God was involved so she obeyed and was blessed.
      The tithe also puts God as a priority, not the needy. Jesus said we would always have the poor with us but God must be a priority.
      My point is that God’s intent is that we be a blessing to others. In order for us to be a blessing we must have had received somthing from God first.
      There is a time to give and there is a time to recieve. We cannot give what we haven’t yet received. See paragraph about the two extreems of Chrisitans.

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