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During Hard Times, First Pray, Then Act
By Jooan Whetzel
I once heard a preacher say "Pray to God to protect your house while you are gone, but lock the door on your way out." What he was saying, in other words, is that the Lord helps those who help themselves. It works something like a contract with God where he agrees to help you on the condition that you keep up your end of the bargain by taking the steps that you need to take.
What You Pray For
There are so many things in this world that we ask God's help with
- keeping our house safe.
- keeping our health good, or a return to good health following an injury or illness
- legal issues - custody, divorce, lawsuits (both those we have filed and those filed against us), arrests, traffic tickets
- employment issues - getting laid off, losing a job, looking for that first job, re-entering the work force after being off work for awhile, problems in a current job
- loss of home - due to a fire or a natural disaster, due to inability to pay a mortgage, due to a lien from an outside source
- relationship troubles - with family, friends, co-workers, spouse or partner
These are all major stressors that are absolutely worth prayers for help and guidance. Pray as long as you need and as often as you need. But remember, that God can't do it all himself. Take the necessary steps to make it happen - one step at a time.
What You Can Do to Help Yourself
This is where you take the necessary steps to help God help you.
- If you are afraid of a break in while you are away from home, pray for God's protection and then: (a) lock the doors, (b) set the alarm if you have one, (c) ask a friend, family member, or trusted neighbor to watch over your house while you are gone (especially on vacations or extended trips).
- If you are worried about your health, pray for God's help and guidance, then: (a) exercise and eat right, (b) see a doctor, (c) allow the necessary medical procedures to be done, (d) take necessary medications.
- If you have legal issues that need to be resolved, pray for help and guidance, then: (a) get a lawyer (either paid or find a free legal service), (c) collect evidence that will help your case (taped phone calls, answering machine messages and voicemails; copies of letters and emails and text messages; dated materials like airline tickets that prove you weren't there at the time; anything that can document your side of the story), (d) become informed about all of the issues, (e) line up witnesses who can testify on your behalf
- If you are having trouble getting a new job, pray for guidance, then: (a) update your resume, (b) send out mass mailings of resume and cover letter to likely jobs, (c) apply online and in person, (d) visit employment agencies.
- If you are having trouble at your current job, pray for guidance, then: (a) collect evidence that backs up your claims, (b) don't antagonize the people you are having trouble with, (c) talk to Human Resources, (d) talk nicely to the person you are having trouble with (as long as your safety is not an issue), (e) seek legal help if necessary, (f) talk to your immediate boss, (g) escalate it up the chain of command, (g) start looking for employment elsewhere.
- If you have lost your home for any reason, pray for help, then: (a) contact FEMA, (b) contact local authorities, (c) contact Red Cross, (d) contact Welfare office, (e) find an apartment or a home that you can rent until you can buy a new home, (f) keep working, (g) contact your insurance company, (g) collect necessary police and fire department reports, (h) collect any other documents and evidence in case the fault is human.
- For any problems or worries, pray first, then ask family for assistance, support and prayers.
How God Helps Those Who Help Themselves
The combination of taking action on your own behalf and asking for God's help and guidance not only ensures an appropriate and fitting outcome to your situation, it speeds up the process of a good outcome. There are many ways to be sure that God is helping you when you begin helping yourself.
- First, You will begin noticing all the things that go right or that go your way, even though you had no direct hand in those areas.
- By accepting the help that comes your way, you will begin to realize that it is actually God giving you what you need when you needed it; it was God that sent you the help.
- You may notice that the help you received wasn't exactly be the help you asked for, but it was most certainly the help you needed (even though you didn't know you needed it at the time).
- You may notice that the help you are given will tide you over until … a better solution comes along.
- You will certainly notice that the assistance you are given helps you and your family feel some semblance of safety and security during uncertain times - which is most certainly a gift from God.
- Having an attitude of gratitude, thanking God and those people who have helped you, makes you feel better about the situation and lets that the people who have helped you at each step along the way know that you appreciate their efforts on your behalf. Gratitude has been known to pave the way for additional, unexpected blessings - as long as the gratitude comes from a truly grateful spirit and not from a position of hoping to get more.