Praying with Confidence: Where does my help come from?

by Emily Vanden Heuvel

Looking up

A few summers ago, my daughter learned how to ride a bike. I loved teaching her how to carefully balance her weight and enjoy the breeze on her face. After a few minutes of instruction, she got the hang of it, and I sat down. I watched her peacefully ride up and down the street, listening to her quietly giggle at the sheer joy of learning a new skill. From time to time, she would glance over her shoulder to make sure I was still watching. On a particular bump in the sidewalk, she lost her balance, fell off her bike, and tumbled into the grass.

The second after she fell, with eyes full of tears, she looked up for me. She needed my help and comfort. Without hesitation, I ran to her side and held her tight. I whispered in her ear; “It’s okay, I am here.” We walked back to the house, and after I gave her a hug and put a bandage on her scuffed knee, my daughter ran back outside to play again; the excitement of playing outside seemed to make her forget about the scrape that happened moments before.

As I watched my daughter play in the yard, with the bandage on her knee, I was reminded that we too “look up” to a helper when we stumble in our personal or spiritual lives. Psalm 121 identifies God as our helper. We can “look up to the hills” with boldness and confidence knowing that God, the Maker of heaven and earth, is listening and will pick us up when we fall.

Psalm 121
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

No fear; no shame

The word “watch” or “watches over” is used several times in Psalm 121. Other translations of this Psalm use the word “guardian” or “keeper.” We pray with confidence knowing that God watches over us, keeping us from harm. When we pray, our all-powerful, all-knowing, perfect, and never-changing God stops everything to help his crying child. He welcomes us to come before him with no fear or shame, “look up to the hills,” and courageously pray for our needs.

God, our Keeper, Guardian, Watcher, listens to us, protects us. We see this same promise echoed in the Lord’s Prayer: “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” (Matthew 6:13). God promises to watch and keep us today and forever.

Let’s “look up” to God with confidence as we cry out to him for help. Let’s “look up” to God as we lift up the pain, heartbreak, and burdens of those for whom we pray. Let’s be willing to lift up those who fall down so that they too may experience the assurance, peace, and healing from our God who whispers, “It’s okay, I am here.”