Asking help from God is a big step.
It's risky and makes you feel vulnerable. You don't know if you're being foolish by reaching out to the unseen. How can you trust your life to a force that you can't even prove is real? A force, whose very existence you constantly doubt?
People may say you've lost your marbles...
But you're here, so I take it that you're one of the brave ones. So to you, brave one, I want to talk about the pitfalls you first risk falling in when you take the step and start asking for help from God. (I mean: When you really, very honestly ask for help)
What happens is, you're often blindsided by your own expectations and preconceived ideas of what that help should look like when it comes. (I want you to really look at this closely)
If the help doesn't come in the form you expect, you immediately tend to think that God hasn't heard you, or has abandoned you, or, that He doesn't exist at all.
Since I'm no exception with this, let me use my own story (my best known example) to demonstrate how these mind blocks can work and how they interfere with our faith.
It's all in the mind you see. The battle field.
The day when I asked for help from God I was 14 years old and full of preconceived ideas. I'd just come home from school, the day had been awful, and now I was sitting by the kitchen window, reflecting on it, looking out to the gloomy street with my insides coming apart. The sky outside the window was gray, the darkness was collecting, and the world had suddenly lost its meaning. All I wanted -- was to die.
I was a troubled young woman, very broken. I didn't know how to get along with people, didn't know who I was. I would get into random arguments with my peers of the stupidest things -- I had a reputation. I wanted to connect with others, but couldn't, remaining isolated in my misery.
This is partly what my pain was about on that day, as I sat there, by the kitchen window.
All I knew, was that I was completely and utterly alone, and that I desperately needed help from God. Even though I didn't know if He existed anymore.
What I no longer remembered at this point, was something very important that had happened to me a long time ago, in my childhood. I'd lost a very essential part of myself (you can find bits and pieces of my story here). I'd lost touch of my true self, my true feelings, and also at the same time -- I'd lost touch of God. But I'd forgotten all about that. There were truckloads of childhood memories pushed away and suffocated. Memories about my true self and the times when God had spoken to me. I'd buried these memories deep within me, at a time when I needed to bury them in order to survive.
That day in the kitchen I no longer had access to any of those memories. All I knew, was that I needed help from God and that I needed a miracle. Nothing else would do.
So I prayed to Him something like this: “If you’re there, whoever you are, help me! Can you hear me? Show yourself to me! Prove to me that you’re real and that the Bible is true. Show me that there’s a Jesus and a Heavenly Father and all this love that I've heard so much about!”
I prayed as honestly as I could.
But nothing happened.
I sat there listening to the ticking of the kitchen clock, watching the gray sky outside the window become more gray still, trying to listen for some kind of response, but hearing nothing and growing more shocked as the minutes went by.
"I ASKED you for help!" I complained in dismay. "I really did! I ASKED you to help me, and you didn’t come and you didn't help me! You PROVED to me that you don’t exist! That everything in the Bible is nothing but a fairytale and a dream, because when I truly needed you, and called for you, you didn’t come.”
It was a big deal for me, because up to that point I had always kept the idea of God on this invisible shelf in my mind. It was my "last resort shelf" that I would turn to if everything else failed. And now, to my horror, I found that my shelf was empty.
On that day I made up my mind that God didn't exist, and decided to become an atheist.
I don’t know what I'd expected, but certainly not the silence that I experienced as a response to my prayer. I'd only wanted a small sign. Something to give me hope. Some kind of reassurance that I'd be okay. An opening in the rainclouds, maybe. A ray of light breaking through. Or maybe even a glimpse of an angel flying by, the sound of an angel choir in my ear, if ever so faintly. Anything but that crushing silence.
I look back at that day now, many years later, and wish I could go and comfort that fourteen year old me, knowing what I know now. Because I've learned a couple of things of what might happen when you go and ask for help from God.
First off, the sign DID come.
But it came later, as usually is the case.
(The help almost always comes a little later!) And in a completely different way than I had thought it would come. Today I know that it had to be that way, knowing everything that I've learned about myself over the years. Looking back at it, I can't help thinking, "if I was God, that's how I would've answered my prayer too."
Actually, it was perfect.
When God answered my prayer, He went about it very differently from what I had expected. This is because in order for Him to help me with my specific problem, there were many other problems He needed to fix first. I had prayed for God to help me live my life, because I struggled with myself and my relationships with others. But in order for Him to answer that prayer, God needed to get to those memories first, to the girl, who was buried somewhere under the mask that I was wearing. For God the top priority was: Get the mask off first.
I was a mess, you see.
And this is often the case when people finally turn to God. I'm not the only one who would keep God on a "last resort shelf," am I? There's a pyramid of things, and often a myriad of things, in all of us that need to be addressed, and we are usually very shortsighted about the help we think we need. But God has His priorities.
And I’m here to tell you that God did come.
And if He came for me, He’ll come for you too.
A little time went by. A couple of weeks maybe, maybe a month. And then, one day there was a man who came to my school to teach my religion class about Christianity. (In case you wonder about that: This happened in Finland, which is where I'm originally from. We used to have religion taught to us in school.)
This man was a born again Christian. And what I mean by that is, speaking-in-tongues, on-fire-for-Jesus type of born again Christian, who lives for God and God alone. Before he stepped in, our religion teacher gave us a little heads up about him, which really was just her diplomatic way of letting us know that she didn't share in all his extreme beliefs. She warned us that he might be a bit "over the top", but added that he was "still a nice guy," and told us to give him our listening ears "anyway."
Which to us of course meant that we were getting ready to shred him into pieces. This was Junior-High after all.
When he walked in the whole class had their eyes on him. Everyone was sizing him up as he walked by, watching him with lazy interest, after which people slowly turned to either whisper about him to the person next to them or rudely ignore him. A couple of girls were giggling into their sleeves. This didn't seem to bother him at all. He walked calmly to the front of the class, not batting an eyelash, and wrote his name on the board. Like an eager soldier reporting for duty. There he was, facing a classroom full of teenagers, a pack of wolves, but he didn't budge. He was full of zeal.
Everything he said was pretty standard stuff. Salvation through the Son. Forgiveness of sins. Restoration of God's plan for mankind. A lot of it I'd heard before. But remember, I was an atheist now, with a bone to pick with God, so I started bombarding him with my bitterness. All my bitter questions.
I took him on a historical tour to caveman days, wondering how Adam and Eve were supposed to fit in there. I shred apart the crucifixion and asked him what in the world it had to do with me what happened to somebody's body a long time ago. I pointed out how the crucifixion in no means could be considered the worst human suffering of all time, as he said, when oceans of human blood has been shred throughout history, and in much more cruel ways than a crucifixion that only took one day. I told him that placing Jesus' experience on that supreme level, if it ever even happened, was living in fantasy land.
And so on.
On and on it went, I'd comment, and he'd respond. Calmly, but determined, fully convinced of his stance. What started off as a couple of comments here and there soon developed into a full-blown, private dialogue between the two of us. I hadn't really planned it that way, but that's what it became. Like a ping pong match between two opponents. The class listened silently as the two of us went at it for the whole entirety of the class session, until the bell rang out for recess.
As I walked out of the classroom a couple of classmates approached me, congratulating me for putting the preacher "in his place." I smiled at them and told them that I'd simply wanted to keep things real.
But actually I was sad.
A side of me had really wanted him to beat me.
But then, two days later, something happened. I was walking down the hall on my way outside, when he suddenly approached me. He just appeared from nowhere, stopped me in the middle of the hallway and said he had something to tell me.
"What's that?" I said.
"God told me He's going to use you. Yes YOU! One day you will speak about God to everyone, all people," he said. And then he casually walked away.
What that was all about, was that this guy happened to have a spiritual gift. He had the gift of the word of knowledge. And now, he had just given me a prophecy about my own future.
I stood there with my mouth hanging open and watched him disappear into the crowds. And I wondered, why he said this to me now, after I had questioned his faith? After I had brought him my whole laundry list against Christianity?
Still he said these things to me and believed in me.
And that's when I realized he had just beaten me.
It was Jesus-dude, who had the last laugh, after all.
That was the first sign.
And there were many more signs to come, later. This was just the beginning of a long row of signs. And it was also a beginning of a long process for me, a journey. This was the beginning of me receiving my help from God. The exact thing I had asked for that day. It was a long journey that finally brought me to my knees and showed me the reality of God. And He did answer me, and He did help me.
Because that's what happens when you pray to God the way I did on that rainy day. Out of desperation. Something always happens. It's like you're putting into motion the collapsing of a row of dominoes. Invisible ones. Stacked next to each other, side by side. So when you knock over the first one, the next one will go down too. And then the next one, and the next one...
Until all the dominoes are knocked over.
If you want God to help you, you have to ask Him first.
No really. You actually have to ask!
You must ask for help from God.
"What do you mean ask?" you say. "Isn't He God? Doesn't He already know all my needs, without me even asking?"
Of course He does. He's God. But He still wants you to ask.
Jesus said: Ask, and it will be given to you. Knock, and the door will open...
So what's so special about asking? - Well, asking is a form of prayer. And you need to learn to ask, because when you ask, you pray.
Here are a couple of reasons why you need to do this:
Remember God created us with a free will? This means we can live our lives without asking for help from God, and He won't interfere. He'll respect that decision. That's our choice. Our free will. But if we choose Him, if we choose to have a relationship with Him, we can go to Him anytime and ask Him for help.
And He'll be there in a split second! Oh yes. Invisibly He'll be there, already working on things. Little by little. All He was just waiting for was for you to ask.
Here's another point: This whole asking business is not for God's benefit at all. It doesn't make God any better or greater. How could it? He's already perfect. How can you fill up a glass that's already running over? That's God. He doesn't need anything from you. But you need everything from Him. And the way you get a hang of that truth, is by communicating with Him. So you got to ask and pray.
It's ALL about YOU. You NEED to learn how to pray.
Praying for help from God teaches you several things about you. It's like pushing out an invisible antenna from your head. A Heavenly antenna. This antenna will pick up Heavenly radio frequencies. How tuned in are you? Just ask yourself. When you try to reach out for God, are you only hitting a wall of static? Is that all you can hear when you seek help from God? If that is the case, you need some fine tuning. You've picked out too much garbage from the air around you. So you need more prayer to clean up the frequencies! Among other things. Because that's how it works when you seek help from God. This is what you need to do to grow closer to Him. All of this makes you better. Because prayer is for your benefit.
Prayer is also like talking into a telephone. It's your free telephone line to Heaven. Without the monthly charges!
"But I don't know how to pray," you may say. - Well. Can you talk? Can you think? Can you ask? - Then you can pray. Praying doesn't have to be complicated at all. It doesn't have to sound fancy. You don't have to pray in old English. You don't need to have scriptures memorized. Praying is like talking to your best friend (Because that's what Jesus is. You're best friend. Although you just might not know it yet). Praying is like talking to someone who really, really loves you. Someone who wants to help you in any way they can. Someone who you can trust with your darkest, dirtiest secrets. Because you know they won't judge you. Because they love you. Because they just want to help you do better.
The best prayer is your most honest and sincere prayer. Like a child's prayer. A lovely, clumsy prayer, with part of the words mispronounced! The kind of prayer Alice would pray. You know she's not into the pretending-business. She is who she is. And God likes that kind of honesty. So pray like that. Be real. Be you.Talk to God with your own, natural words. Remember, God said He wanted us to pray in spirit and truth! So just drop the pretending and be real.
Jesus said: "Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and truth." (Joh. 4:23 - 24)
Just pick up that telephone and start talking into it! Except for calling, say, grandma, you're calling Heaven instead. Just talk into the air! Or close your eyes and just say it all inside of your head, quietly. Just think it in your mind. It doesn't matter how you do it. It only matters that you mean it. So pick up that telephone and ask for help!
You might not get an immediate answer. But don't let it discourage you. Learn from my mistake. The answer will come. Just keep talking into that phone. Keep talking to God. At some point, He WILL answer. And maybe in a really surprising way too.
And either way, He will listen to your prayers, and answer to the real stuff that you really need help with. (I mean the important stuff, not the silly things that you don't really need, that will just feed on your ego and all your lower instincts) So when you really need help from God, just ask, and He will help you. Remember the domino effect.
And you can ask others to pray too! This is very important. Especially when your own strength fails you. That's when you need others to carry you through. You need others to pray for you, because you can't do it anymore.
And when more people pray the prayer is usually stronger. Especially when people with a strong faith pray. Those prayers shoot directly up to Heaven like powerful light beams. This prayers get the first response.
So don't be afraid to ask for prayer help. Just ask.
When you pray for help from God He quickly starts working behind the scenes. He starts sending certain key people your way. Keep your eyes and ears open for those people, because they will come! The people that God sends your way will have a message for you. They themselves might not be aware of any of this. They might not know that they were specifically sent to you to help you. But nevertheless, it is their job to give you the message. It's between THEM and God. The messengers need to stay true and honest and obedient to God. YOUR job is to listen to the message and receive it. Because the message holds a specific spiritual truth that you need to know. It is something that needs to be deposited deep within you. Because when the message has SUNK IN, it will unlock some door that has remained locked up to this point. And once the door is unlocked, now you will be able to walk through it. And now you can walk down a new path that you didn't have access to before. It's a stepping stone towards your freedom. This is how it works when you get help from God.
Note: Those locked doors exist inside of your head. That's where the majority of the war is fought. The unlocking must therefore happen between your ears.
There are some truths in you that are no truths at all. They are untruths that must be replaced with God's truths, which are the real spiritual truths that you need in order to be healed from deep within. That's all part of getting help from God.
Let me give you an example of how this process can work:
Take an abused wife, who has never, ever believed in her own value. She's someone who has experienced mistreatment and disfunctional relationships all her life. That's all she's ever known, even as a child. She even married her husband without ever questioning his treatment of her. Because she never knew what it's like to be treated with respect. All she ever knew was disrespect.
All her life she's walked around asking for forgiveness for her very existence.
When her husband treats her with cruelty, when he puts her down and minimizes her value, within herself she will say "yes, yes, yes." Her eyes will say yes. Her fearful face and body will say "yes." Yes to the mistreatment. Because that's all she believes she's worth. These are her truths. Her truths are that she is nobody and deserves nothing better. She also believes that love always hurts. And that kindness is always scorned at, and no matter what she does, she can never win and that somehow she is destined to be miserable for the rest of her life.
Every night this woman prays to God and cries and cries, because her husband hurts her feelings. But even though she prays to God, deep within her she wonders: What if God is just like her husband? What if God's love is just the same? Demanding, controlling, unforgiving, rude, cruel and unkind. A hypocritical kind of love that just wants another slave. And she - the slave - must sit at God's feet and petition for some breadcrumbs of kindness. Because she thinks that if she ever gets anything from God, it will only be a breadcrumb.
She thinks these things because she doesn't know how to receive God's love. And she doesn't know how to love herself and say stop to the abuse and mistreatment. And instead of stopping the mistreatment, unintentionally she keeps handing out further invitations for disrespect. Because that's all she knows.
Because she's a living, breathing doormat.
Do you think God doesn't hear her prayers? Do you think God is the cruel taskmaster that she thinks He is?
What she thinks of God is a reflection of what she thinks of herself and her own worth.
So if the problem is her misery in her abusive marriage, then what is the solution to her problem?
The solution is that her view of herself and others and God must absolutely change!
She must stop saying yes to the mistreatment. She must start saying NO to it. And when she starts doing that, she'll start getting a glimpse of her true worth. She'll also start getting a glimpse of what real love looks like and also what God is really like. God is LOVE,and if you want to know how the Bible defines love - read 1 Corinthians Chapter 13 (you'll see a portion of it down below)
So now, God has heard her tears and prayers. Of course He has! From day one He did. And now He starts sending certain key people her way. He starts sending various people with various messages. To change her thinking.
Let's say, the first messenger is a little spitfire, who gets into it with the woman's husband. There's some disagreement between the husband and the spitfire. The woman only observes the disagreement from the sidelines. The spitfire will point out to the woman what is obvious to everyone else except the woman: That her husband is cruel, selfish, lazy and rude. She makes no mistake about it. She says it like she sees it. She does not sugarcoat this fact, like so many others would, to stay safe from trouble.
And that's the message of the spitfire: Facing the uncomfortable truth.
She won't call rude "a little rough around the edges". She won't call lazy "someone who knows how to appreciate life's little comforts". She won't call cruel "a bit grumpy" or selfish "someone who cares of their things".
She calls it like it is. She points out the sinful behavior.
The second messenger might be the total opposite of the spitfire. Maybe just a kindhearted female friend. She teaches the woman some self-worth. She listens to the woman's stories, laughs with her, cries with her, gives her a sense of value. Shows her that there is something in her that is enjoyable and valuable to others. And that she deserves to be treated with respect and kindness.
That's the message of the friend: Self-worth.
Another messenger teaches about healthy boundaries and assertiveness. This messenger has a way to say something that is difficult in a kind and diplomatic way. She's a healthy communicator. She teaches the woman how to speak her needs without falling apart. How to give constructive criticism. How to communicate to her oppressor in a Godly way what the problem is. " When you do a) it causes me to react negatively, because it causes b) in me." She learns how to do this without screaming and shouting and losing her credibility. Without losing her cool. Just by simply being direct and honest and to the point.
That's the message of the healthy communicator: The wisdom of healthy boundaries.
Another messenger teaches the woman about Jesus. About His kindness and love. She tells her how God values her and how saddened God is to see her cry. This messenger brings the woman an image of a God that is so unlike the idea that she has carried within her for all these years. What a valuable message! The message of a love that exceeds all understanding! A love so great that you can just fall into those invisible arms like child and be helpless. Because you can.
That's the message of the Christian. The most important one: The Love of God.
And there are many other messengers, all coming forth in due time to teach the woman different truths and aspects about her situation. Truths that are from God.
Spiritual truths that can all be found in the Bible.
Even though some of the messengers don't even call themselves Christians! Still you can find their truths in the Bible. These messengers are just regular people from all walks of life. But they all hold a specific truth, and they are sent to teach the woman. Something that God wants her to know, understand and see.
All these messages sink in, and over time convince the woman that she can stand up to the abuse and say no to it.
Standing up to the abuse is her ticket out of it. It is the beginning of her freedom. It all happens inside of her head. And when her thinking has changed enough, a door opens, and change comes. The change is inevitable.
What happens to her marriage remains to be seen. It could be healed, or it could be broken. A lot of it depends on her husband, and whether or not he is willing to work through his own issues and his need to control and put down another. But work must be done and change is necessary. Because if no changes are made, she will slowly wither away into nothing, body, mind and spirit. She will die. Either an actual death, or a spiritual one.
There is no future without the changes. There is no hope.
But God is the Doctor Who can heal anyone who is willing to come to Him with their sins and wounds. He denies no one, and He always seeks to heal and restore. But everyone has a free will to come to Him and be healed. And healing can only come if the hidden sin in the marriage is brought into sunlight (Son light).
Now I'm not saying to go against scripture! The Bible has scriptures about divorce. (Mal. 2:13 - 16, Mt. 19:3, 1Co 7:11 - 27) And the scriptures cannot be cancelled. It is then for the Holy Spirit to reveal in the woman's case how she should apply these scriptures into her own situation.
But if the husband is not willing to see his own involvement in his marital crisis, if he is not willing to face his own sin, what is left for he woman to do? How will she protect herself from her oppressor, who refuses to stop the cycle of sin?
The Bible says to guard oneself from evil.
Thus she knows she must distance herself from it.
How that actually happens, it is for the Holy Spirit to show her. Can't give you a formula that fits all. It doesn't work like that.
If she must move into the garden shed to protect herself, so be it. But her job from now on is to embrace God's love for her, and share it with others and let nothing come between her relationship with her Heavenly Father.
If she needs to move out and separate, so be it. It is not God who asks her to sit quietly and take abuse, if it does not lead to healing and a changed heart. Mindless pain is just mindless pain, and it doesn't come from God's Hand. This kind of fruitless suffering for the sake of suffering is what the devil specializes in. The only reason God allows pain, is if it bares spiritual fruit.
So if he does not want to change, or sees no need for it, then she may need to go and seek the freedom Jesus called her into - alone.
It may be what the Doctor orders to stop the cycle of sin. And the Doctor is God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Freedom is her calling. Walking in God's love is her calling. And any man, or church that tries to stop her from walking in that love cannot prevail.
All of these changes happen, because the woman prayed, and God answered, and placed within her His truths that are undeniable and unquestionable:
These truths say she must not allow anyone to steal her peace.
They say she must avoid evil and seek good.
They say she is more than a conqueror in Christ and that through Him she is worthy!
These are truths that are from God. A God who wants His children healed, happy, whole and full of His grace. A God who thinks she's worthy of kindness and respect.
A God who is full of love that looks like this:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres...
As you can see in the case of the woman, often our problems are complex and multi-layered. But God hears prayers and starts working as soon as you call Him. He sends people. He sends circumstances. He sends tools for change. You may not like the change at first. It may not be what you expected. But trust Him. When you ask for help from God, it will come, and God knows exactly what He's doing with your life. He's taking you to wholeness.
So embrace the change. Believe it's real. Pray. Look and listen. Read the Bible and let the scriptures sink in, so they become part of you. They are the building blocks of the new you. Give your life to Jesus and then trust that He will take care of it. He will place you on the palm of His hand and He will never let you go.
Later, when you look back, you'll see that you did get help from God. He did take care of you. And in the process He probably took care of a bunch of other people too. Because when God starts working in your life, He always multi-tasks. He doesn't just renovate the kitchen. He'll redo the whole house, and the neighbor's yard too.
Did you pray for help from God? Did you receive it? Did you not? Tell me about your experience, good or bad! Your story can teach me and others something valuable about how it works with God and life.
Our stories are valuable, because they hide lessons in them, every single one, in one way or another. And only you can help us find out what the lesson of your story is. Do you know? Tell us your story and let us figure it out. See how other people comment your story. Write anonymously, if you like, just write from the heart!