But someone might argue, “Some people have faith, and others have good works.” My answer would be that you can’t show me your faith if you don’t do anything. But I will show you my faith by the good I do. You believe there is one God. That’s good, but even the demons believe that! And they shake with fear.
You fool! Faith that does nothing is worth nothing. Do you want me to prove this to you? Our father Abraham was made right with God by what he did. He offered his son Isaac to God on the altar. So you see that Abraham’s faith and what he did worked together. His faith was made perfect by what he did. This shows the full meaning of the Scriptures that say, “Abraham believed God, and because of this faith he was accepted as one who is right with God.”[a] Abraham was called “God’s friend.”[b] So you see that people are made right with God by what they do. They cannot be made right by faith alone.
Another example is Rahab. She was a prostitute, but she was made right with God by something she did. She helped those who were spying for God’s people. She welcomed them into her home and helped them escape by a different road.[c]
A person’s body that does not have a spirit is dead. It is the same with faith—faith that does nothing is dead!
- After listening to what's going on in the life of a parent with a child who has special needs, offer to pray with that person right then and there. This may be uncomfortable for some, but it can be the most powerful form of prayer there is because you are halting life right where it is, and going out of your way to pray with or for that person.
- Ask if you can contact others to pray for that parent. A host of prayer warriors joining together for the sake of a family in need is another powerful spiritual support. Support your church pastor by offering to go on hospital visits, if you sense you might be able.
- Take the time to read the fabulous resource from McLean Bible Church's Access Ministry Special Families... A Casserole's Not Enough. While it was designed for churches to implement support within the congregation, this booklet gives wise insights into the common experiences of family caregivers and simple things you might do to help.
- Carve out the time to hand write a greeting card to the parent whom you are praying for with a meaningful Scripture passage that might edify them on a tough day. Everyone loves to receive something in the mail that isn't a bill, especially those who have a continual parade of medical bills. Your true sincerity shows through when you take the time to remember a person in such a way.
- Practical help in addition to meals, like a willingness to watch the kids, help with housecleaning, assisting with the yard or garden, and giving the family gift cards for gas can also be a tremendous relief to a struggling family.
- If you have the connections, offer to plug the parent of a child with special needs into a terrific resource or to network with another parent with similar experience.
- While you may want to strangle the person offering their prayers, lift your eyes up to God and away from your problems for a moment. See the person's heart. Remember, you were more than likely just as clumsy at one point in your life.
- Don't be afraid to ask the person offering promises of prayer, "Do you have time to pray with me right now, because I could really use it?". This might help better convey to others the magnitude of what you are going through.
- Study what Scripture has to say about prayer, this will bring you encouragement to tuck in your heart when those casual comments come flying at you. Passages such as 1 Samuel 1:10-2:10, Psalm 6:9, 2 Corinthians 1:10-11, James 5:13-18, and Revelation 8:2-4 are full of promises fulfilled through prayer. This will help you trust in God's care when you sense that all you are receiving are hollow words from others.
- If you are in a position to do so, start a prayer group for those raising children with special needs. No one understands like another person who has gone down this road themselves. Even if it is only once a month, imagine the encouragement you would bless other parents with, knowing that their families are earnestly and fervently being prayed for! You might even have participants in your prayer group who are willing to serve as personal "chaplains" who go to pray with parents in the hospital. That too, would help to show hurting families that the Lord is right there with them in their suffering. And as a bonus, it helps take your mind off of your own problems when you are praying for another.
PRAY: Lord, you tell us in your word that "the prayers of a righteous man availeth much". Holy Spirit, by your power, assist us in living righteous lives, beyond reproach. When we are suffering, awaken our eyes to the power of prayer. Dispel any animosity we may feel when we sense others are merely offering platitudes. Father, awaken the world to those who are hurting. Motivate simple acts of lovingkindness to strengthen the weary. Send hands that will help and arms that will comfort. We need you, Jesus!