Most prayer begins with a human need. [Often in prayer] the need is not put aside; it is presented to God in the hope that God will act, and the body will be healed, the relationship restored, the job acquired or the decision made. The hope is that the need will be resolved to our satisfaction.
… Focusing on the need seems reasonable, but what the mind dwells on tends to fill the mind. Obviously, a need is an expression of lack; it is something we do not have, and if we think about what we do not have, the mind is filled with thoughts of lack.
Humanity has discovered that thoughts held in mind produce after their kind. Thoughts of lack multiply. Early in the morning, we think about what we do not have and similar thoughts join us during the day and become so numerous that they keep us up at night.
Day by day, night by night, the thoughts support one another. What was once thought becomes a belief in limitation. The belief spreads throughout our consciousness, and attitudes are born that become the lens through which we see our lives and the world. Dreams die, and with them the possibility of a meaningful, fulfilled life. For this reason, we must be cautious with our needs and learn the positive role they can play in our lives.
Consider the needs of the human family that cry out for resolution. Famine strikes a large percentage of the earth's population, and nearly 20 million people die of malnutrition and its complications every year, most of them children. The AIDS epidemic is devastating the African continent, killing the greatest natural resource of the region—children. Such calamities are present everywhere, and just as prevalent is the human cry, “Why doesn't God do something about these needs?” The answer is gut-wrenching: a need is not an avenue through which God can work.
What God Can Do
This gut-wrenching fact is obvious. Whatever God is doing, God is always doing it. Spirit does not rest from Its creation. There is no vacation or furlough for God. If God could end the wars that plague the earth, it would be done. If the Almighty could end the pandemics, they would be no more. The hard truth is this: God does not fulfill needs.
However, this truth does not mean that needs cannot be met. War can end. Famine can be replaced with plenty, and there is a cure for AIDS and every malady that afflicts the body. Humanity's failure to grasp and understand the preceding ideas has led to disillusionment with God and the perpetuation through the ages of one calamity after another. We continue to insist that a need is an avenue for God's power, and it is not. Rather than insist God work through our needs, it is best for us to discover the avenue through which God's power and presence can be expressed.
… Remember, God's labor is not resolving our needs. If God's work was handling needs, when a need appeared, it would be met, but it is obvious that this is not happening. Rather than asking why God doesn't act, it is better for us to discover what God is doing and how we are to act.
Joel Goldsmith, a 20th-century mystic and healer, answered this question best. What God can do, God is doing. And what is God doing?
God is being; God is being our source, and when we become aware of God as our source, our needs are met. God is being life, and when we experience this life, we are healed. God is being wisdom, and when we experience this light, our path is clear, and wise decisions come easily.
Needs Serve a Purpose
Needs do serve a purpose; they turn us to God. Nearly every miracle recorded in the Bible began with a need. The widow with the small flask of oil whose sons were about to be sold into slavery to pay her debts experienced an unlimited supply, but the miracle began with her need.
Jesus fed 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish, but the miracle began with a need—hungry people. It has always been this way. Needs are not avenues for God's expression, but they do turn us to God. The next step is to turn from the need.
We identify the need and then no longer focus on it. We turn to God and release the need. This brings us closer to discovering the true avenue for God's power, for just as it is obvious that humanity has needs, it is likewise obvious that needs are met, and in some instances through incredible expressions of divine power.
… Remember the role of the need: to turn us to God.