Man's Difficulty with Prayer

—and not to faint.

— St. Luke 18:1

If God has made us to love like himself, and like himself long to help; if there are those for whom we, like him, would give our lives; if the love in us would, for the very easing of the love he kindled, gift another—like himself who chooses and cherishes even the love that pains him; if, in the midst of a sore need to bless, to give, to help, we are aware of an utter impotence; and if all our hope for ourselves lies in God—what is there for us, what can we think of, what do, but go to God? And where is the natural refuge, there must be the help. There can be no need for which he has no supply. I think God will help my friend that I may be helped—perhaps help me to help him. You see, in praying for another, we pray for ourselves—for the relief of the needs of our love. Would God give us love, and leave that love altogether helpless in us? 

God is ever seeking to lift us up into the sharing of his divine nature. See the grandeur of the creative love of the Holy! Nothing less will serve it than to have his children, through his and their suffering, share the throne of his glory! If he would have his children fellow-workers with him; if he has desired and willed that not only by the help of his eternal Son, but by the help also of the children who through him have been born from above, other children shall be brought to his knee, to the plenty of his house, why should he not have kept some margin of room wherein their prayers may work for those whom they have to help?

Commentary

by James House

Would God give us love, and leave that love altogether helpless in us?

There can be no need for which he has no supply.

God has made us to love like himself, is ever seeking to lift us up into the sharing of his divine nature.

See the grandeur!

As my spirituality has increased, my love, and my desire to have help from God for those whom I love has naturally also matured.

One shift in the content of my prayers has come from the understanding that in many cases, I, more than anyone, am the one who God has put in place for answering the very prayer I am uttering.  I cannot pray for the help of my loved-one without feeling the duty that I have to supply that help.  

Rather than simply praying that help may come to my loved ones, I now pray more for the inspiration, the courage, the wisdom, and the strength, for how I may better serve my loved ones in their needs.  And as my prayers have been answered, and I have had a larger (yet small) hand in God's business, my appreciation for his grandeur has grown.

But some of my loved ones are out of my reach - I have little means for helping them directly.  Here I take comfort that God loves them more and better than I do, and that my prayers for their aid will be answered through others who can reach them - others who love to serve God.  And it likewise becomes my part to help my neighbors in answer to the prayers of their loved ones.  

Of the general business, it's a part God keeps to Himself to see that the stars go all right, and that the sun rises and sets at the proper times. 
--George MacDonald, Gutta-Percha Willie

It's our part to do the needful thing before us - and to do it in the best way possible. That is, with the guidance of God.

Men cannot be righteous without love;  to love a righteous man is the best, the only way to learn righteousness:  the Lord gives us himself to love, and promises his closest friendship to them that overcome.  
--George MacDonald, The Hope of the Gospel

The love of Christ is a grand love: it makes us more capable of loving others - with a love of action.