Prayer: Powerful Weakness

What does it say about you when you have to ask for help? Take it a step further, what does it say about you when you are always having to ask for help? Those are easy questions. It means you’re weak. It also says that you are in good company.

Consider the words of the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:10.

“For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

I believe the epitome of this powerful weakness is prayer. We are told to pray without ceasing (1 Thes. 5:17); to constantly cry out for help. That expression of weakness (prayer) taps us into the greatest, most constant, and most benevolent source of strength – God Himself.

I have heard many people say that they feel like this kind of praying is whining. But then I remind them that, by that definition, most of the Bible is either whining or the response to whining (see my post “Biblical Whining”).

But that whole defense is given because we believe asking for help is weak and we should not be weak. Have you ever noticed that the most precious things are weak? Fine china dishes. Roses. Babies. We handle them with care and feel honored to have them. But for some reason we do not want to be put in the place to be like them.

We become like my 3 year old who is so committed to being big and strong that life becomes hard for him. I am there longing to help, waiting to be asked, but his refrain is, “I can do it myself. I know just what I’m doing.” His definition of “strong” causes his effectiveness to be much weaker and slower than it has to be.

Paul understood what it meant to be strong as a child of God; it meant relying upon our Father for those things we were never meant to do without Him. That is where the illustration of my son breaks down. He is meant to grow up and be independent and even take care of me in my old age.

We were never meant to be independent of God. Even if the Fall had never happened, God created us a finite beings meant to draw delight and purpose from interaction with His infinite being. We never can outgrow God.

The call of the Christian life is to embrace weakness to find strength. This is seen and experienced most practically in prayer.

 

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