“the gospel commands us to give up and hang out a help-wanted sign
(this is the basic meaning of prayer)”
Desiring God by John Piper
While reading Desiring God by John Piper, the above quote caught my attention. It has given me something to think about regarding my prayer life. The primary concept Piper develops is that God desires to help us more than He desires for us to help Him. “Let go and let God” is a quote worth remembering. God’s uniqueness is that He strives to be the Workman for us, not vice versa. I can hinder God from working out a situation according to His plans when I try to help Him by taking things into my own hands. I need to remember what Paul says in Philippians 2:13, “for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” God is the One who works, not me! My prayer life should look like a Help Wanted sign requesting the Lord’s help. Today I want to develop the idea of hanging out this kind of Help Wanted sign.
My prayer is the Help Wanted sign that I post in the window of my life. God hears my prayer and sees my sign. He submits His resume’ in the form of the Bible that lists all the works He has done and reveals His qualifications according to the power and promises He is willing to use on my behalf. It is my choice whether or not I will allow Him to fulfill my plea for help. Using business terminology, will I hire Him to fill the position for which I have posted a Help Wanted sign? God is waiting to determine my sincerity of offering Him the job and to see if I will retain Him to complete the task. My prayer is my way of admitting that I am helpless unless I call upon His power for help. II Chronicles 16:9 says, “For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” To quote the words of John Piper, “God is not looking for people to work for Him, so much as He is looking for people who will let Him work for them.”
When I am on my knees praying, I sincerely ask the Lord for His help, but if He does not answer my request in the way I want and when I want, I may take matters into my own hands. In other words, I not only remove the help wanted sign but also fire the Lord from intervening on my behalf. It would be as if I asked the Lord to come work for me and then when He arrived, He found that there was no work for Him to do because I had chosen to go ahead and do the job myself. The Lord, will not do for me what I try to do by myself. John Piper points out that the ironic thing is that by not waiting for God, I forfeit the blessing of having God work for me. Isaiah 64:4 concludes by saying, “(God) acts on behalf of those who wait for him.”
John 14:26 NAS describes the Holy Spirit as the Helper. His name assures me of His Help. I need not question His qualifications for the position I extended to Him through prayer or His capability to complete the job in the best way possible. I want to embellish the scripture of Matthew 7:7 and say, “I will ask for help and it will be given to me; I will seek His help and I will find it; I will knock and the door will be opened for me to receive help.” From one respect, I can say that I must always keep a Help Wanted sign in the window of my life because I will always require the Lord’s help. From another respect, I can say that I never need again hang a Help Wanted sign in the window of my life because I have hired the Lord for all eternity. I just must remember to allow Him to do His job. I have hired Him to be in charge of my life and I must allow Him to be the foreman of my life’s project. He knows best!