When I see someone who has been hurt, or who has suffered from injustice, or has a need, I want to do something to help. I want to give. I want to fix. I want to say the words that will bring comfort or encouragement.
Many times I’ve committed to pray for someone or for a situation, and although I mean it sincerely, if I’m honest, sometimes that feels “inadequate,” like it’s not enough.
But prayer has power. And prayer is never inadequate. I may wonder “what will my prayers accomplish for someone who has such tangible needs?” Or “do my prayers really make a difference?” And the answer is “yes” and “yes.”
Telling someone I’ll pray for them is not just an empty promise to mumble some heartfelt but powerless words to God about a desperate situation. Prayer is the believer’s way to petition God Almighty, and to seek His favor, help, grace, strength, provision—and sometimes even a miracle—on behalf of a person or situation in need our Savior’s deliverance.
In reality, there are many important reasons why we should pray. Take Ephesians 6:12. It says“we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world…” We can’t fight spiritual battles with man-made resources. A spiritual battle requires spiritual weapons, and prayer is the most powerful asset in our arsenal.
Second, our work for Christ is much more fruitful and less vulnerable to the enemy’s attack when we are in close fellowship with the Lord. As 1 Corinthians 3 tells us, He can use any one of us to plant the seeds, but it is the Lord who makes things grow.
And, amazingly, we can actually influence God with our prayers. Isn’t in incredible, and humbling, that the Creator of the Universe listens to our requests? Do you remember the story of Hezekiah from 2 Kings 20? Hezekiah was deathly ill and was told by the prophet Isaiah to set his house in order because he was going to die. But Hezekiah wept and prayed to the Lord, and the Lord responded by healing him and giving him 15 more years to live!
I know that like me, you care about the poor and want to do your part to make a difference in their life.Monetary donations go a long way in helping those in poverty, but are you also praying for those who are hungry and vulnerable?
If you aren’t, I encourage you to do so. Perhaps you haven’t, because you aren’t sure what to pray. Here are a couple of ideas to get you started as you cry out to the Lord on behalf of the poor:
- Pray for the Lord to pour out His grace on hungry people – men, women and children.
- Pray for children affected by malnutrition.
- Pray for those who can’t find work to provide for their families, and for the children who forgo an education, so they can work to help put food on the table.
- Pray for those who are living without adequate healthcare, for those who are sick and dying from treatable diseases.
- Pray for the work of Bright Hope, for the communities and projects we sponsor in Kenya, Zambia, Uganda,Haiti and Bolivia.
- Thank God for the success we have seen–for progress being made, communities that are working towards being able to better sustain themselves, and for the Allies like you who are helping to make these things possible.
- Pray for the land that is dry and barren due to drought, and for the people who have lost their crops and livestock to the parched land.
- Pray for the Lord to touch and enlist the hearts of many others to join us in our fight to help those living on less than $2 a day.
- Pray for many to come to know the love of the Savior, and to surrender their lives to Him.
- Pray for those who are doing the work on the field –the many indigenous pastors and community volunteers we partner with:ask the Lord to bless their efforts, to provide for their needs,strengthen them, and to protect them and their families.
When you pray, give God time to speak to you about what you can do to help and how He would have you pray—ask Him what’s on His heart. And the next time your heart is stirred by the plight of the poor, I challenge you to pray in earnest, with confidence in the power of prayer.