Prayers for the Needy
We all need prayer because we are all needy.
While we might not think about this every time we go before our Father who is in heaven, the truth is that prayer is a deeply humbling act. When we kneel or close our eyes or fold our hands we are admitting that we alone are not sufficient for the task before us. Prayer is an admission that we are not wise enough or strong enough to answer or withstand all that life throws our way. True prayer is a sign of our dependence, weakness, and need.
This is true even when we go to the Father and state promises he has made to us, promises like “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Heb. 13:5); that he bottles up our tears (Ps. 56:8); that he works all things together for our good. (Rom. 8:28); that he loves us (Deut. 7:6-8). We are only able to declare these promises because of his initial action and faithfulness to us. We are in need of his word.
In his book, Prayer, pastor Tim Keller writes, “All human beings have some knowledge of God available to them. At some level, they have an indelible sense that they need something or someone who is on a higher plane and infinitely greater than they are.” We pray because we are needy and Jesus prays for us, as we see in John 17, because he both knows and meets our needs.
We don’t like to admit it, but the truth is that we are all needy. I was having a conversation with a friend one time, and I described someone as being particularly ‘needy.’ My friend responded to me that what I just stated about this one person was in fact true of us all. She was right. Needs manifest themselves in different ways and to different degrees, but the truth is that we are all in need.
One clarification we ought to remember is that there is a difference between merely felt needs and actual needs. Sometimes they are the same, but sometimes we think we need one thing when we actually need another. We might think we need to fill our tires with air when the steering is pulling to one side, but what we actually need is a realignment. Or, to make things a bit more personal, we might think we need more money, a new car, or a better job, when what we actually need is contentment. I say this to say that Jesus meets our actual needs and he knows what they actually are.
In John 17, we overhear Jesus asking the Father to meet our actual needs. He asks for our sanctification, unification, and protection. He desires that we behold his glory and know the love that exists within the Trinity. He prays over our mission in the world.
Hour after hour, day after day, we are in need of these prayers from the Son to the Father. Whether we are at work or home, corporate America or Capitol Hill, with friends or strangers, our deepest needs are met in Jesus.
From this place of dependence we are able to live faithfully on mission. Read over the words of John 17 and experience the goodness of our Lord.
Will Stockdale is a Ministry Associate in Washington, D.C and co-host of The Will & Rob Show.