Father, I Stretch My Hands to Thee
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. (James 5:13a ESV)
My habitual response to problems is to develop a plan A, B, and C. I am a problem solver and a creative thinker.
Also, over the years I have made acquaintances with people who have all kinds of expertise, skills, resources, and connections who have helped me.
And the six degrees of separation has worked well for me. “Six degrees of separation is the theory that any person on the planet can be connected to any other person on the planet through a chain of acquaintances that has no more than five intermediaries” (whatis.techtarget.com/definition/six-degrees-of-separation). In other words, you know somebody who knows somebody who can and will help you.
However, there have been several times in my life when I did all I knew what to do about a given situation and nothing got better. If anything, things got worse.
There have been times in my life when nobody could help me, no matter how hard they wanted to or tried to. They didn’t have the money or the skill or the connection I needed to fix the problem.
I have had seasons in my life when each day a new problem appeared – back to back to back. All I could say was, “If it ain’t one thing it’s another!” I was suffering, afflicted, hurting, in trouble, and in despair!
It was as if human help was being blocked by a hand I could not see.
James, the brother of Jesus, taught that when your back is against the wall and there is no human help in sight – talk to God. Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. (James 5:13a ESV)
Talk. To. God.
I am a witness that heaven has answers that earth cannot phantom. God has truly made a way out of no way for me. He has opened doors I could not see until they opened. I have found myself proclaiming to God on more than one occasion, “God, You are so smart!” I have found out that nothing is too hard for God.
But my situation did not change until I sincerely and consistently talked to God. I had to pray. Jesus taught this kingdom principle for victory, “Ask and keep on asking and it will be given to you; seek and keep on seeking and you will find; knock and keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who keeps on asking receives, and he who keeps on seeking finds, and to him who keeps on knocking, it will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8, Amplified Bible). The problem is that sometimes we Christians are slow to hear and slow to obey.
Prayer works. Here are two biblical examples:
- “(2 Kings 20:1-6) Hezekiah was sick unto death and to worsen the matter, God sent His prophet Isaiah to inform him of his impending death. What was he to do? Here was a prophet of God sent directly to inform him to put his house in order and be prepared to die. When he got the message, he didn’t waste time thinking about resigning to fate or how to put his house in order. Instead, Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed, reminding God how he had walked with Him in his youth. Bible recorded that before Prophet Isaiah could leave the King’s palace, God answered Hezekiah’s prayer and sent the prophet to tell him He has added 15 years to his life.” (https://allroundjesus.com/5-biblical-examples-of-answered-prayers/).
- “(Acts 12:1-17) When Peter Was Imprisoned. King Herod arrested Peter and put him in prison to please the Jews… the church offered continuous prayer (v5) to God for him. The incessant prayers reached God’s throne room and He sent His angel to miraculously rescue Peter from the prison where he was bound in chains between two soldiers.” (https://allroundjesus.com/5-biblical-examples-of-answered-prayers/).
If you are going through trying times right now, pray.
If you can’t pray, sing this song:
Father, I stretch my hands to Thee,
No other help I know;
If Thou withdraw Thyself from me,
Ah! whither shall I go? (Father I Stretch My Hands to Thee, Charles Wesley)
If you can’t pray or sing follow the advice of the old saints: “If you can’t say a mumbling word, just wave your hand.” Somehow the Holy Ghost translates this heartfelt wave into a sincere prayer and God answers.
Share your prayer experiences with us. Join the Conversation.
Dr. Dorothy J. Haire
Author & Blogger
Both church planter and pastor of Bread of Life Christian Church for the last 18 years, Dr. Haire is a beloved mother and successful author. Empowered to deliver the word of God to His people, Dr. Haire uses her digital platform to educate and develop Christian communities that are rooted in the word of Christ.