Often we ask God to help us, to empower us, to strengthen us, so that we can do our ministry more effectively and become better witnesses for him. No, that’s wrong. We don’t ask God to help us in the sense of providing auxiliary help — to provide supplementary or additional help, as if we are the main subjects responsible of the task and God simply cheers for us on the sideline and occasionally hands us a bottle of Gatorade. No, God is not our assistant, serving us at our disposal. Rather, God bears His own witness and performs His own miracles in the hearts and consciences of people. We only participate in His work and His witness.
Commenting on John 15:18-27, Lesslie Newbigin writes:
The Gospel repeatedly affirms that it is not the work of men but of God to bring people to the knowledge of Jesus as he truly is. To know Jesus as Lord can never be the work of “flesh and blood.” It is always a miracle of God’s grace and never the direct result of even the most impressive “proclamation,” for no one comes to Jesus unless the Father draws him (6:44).
…… It is the Spirit who is sovereign. The promise to the community of the disciples is not that they will have the Spirit at their disposal to help them in their work of proclamation. That misunderstanding has profoundly distorted the missionary action of the Church and provided the occasion for a kind of missionary triumphalism of which we are right to be ashamed. The Spirit is not the Church’s auxiliary.
Leslie Newbigin, The Light Has Come: An Exposition of the Fourth Gospel, (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1982), 207-8.
So let us not pray anymore like this: “O God, help us do our work and our ministry”, but rather like this: “O God, we only ask that you make use of us who are fragile jars of clay (2 Cor. 4:7-12), through which you can do your work and your ministry. Amen.”