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Being an Advocate

Helping others is an art that involves awareness of certain stages and approaches. Here is how you can be a successful helper (advocate) to others.

Nehemiah 1-2 and Exodus 2-5: These stories about Nehemiah and Moses show that there are various stages and approaches from which we can learn when we act as advocates.


Firstly, to be an advocate we need to be aware of the situations of others and to feel compassion for them (see Nehemiah 1:1-4 and Exodus 2:11).

If what we are doing is God's plan, it will succeed, however daunting the task seems and despite our own weaknesses …

   • How can we make time to be good listeners and observers?

   • Who might God be prompting you to help?

The right preparation

Once we are aware of the needs, we may be tempted to rush straight in and try to help people (see Exodus 2:11-15). But it was not until years later that Moses was called by God to go to Pharaoh and bring God's people, the Israelites, out of Egypt (see Exodus 3:7-14). Moses had many questions, but in the end he returned to Egypt.

Nehemiah's approach was first to seek the counsel of God with many days of prayer and fasting (see Nehemiah 1:4-6). On arrival at Jerusalem (see Nehemiah 2:11-16), Nehemiah took stock of the situation before the work began.

   • Do you decide your actions through prayer or do you simply do what you think is best?

   • Are you prepared to wait for God's timing?

   • Do you believe that if God has called you, He will equip you despite your inadequacies?

   • Do you take the time to be sure you know the real situation on the ground?

Counting the cost

Both Moses and Nehemiah could have remained in their comfortable positions, isolated from the difficulties of the people—Moses as Pharaoh's daughter's son (see Exodus 2:10) and Nehemiah as cupbearer to the King in the citadel of Susa (see Nehemiah 1:1,11). Both gave up their own security and privileged positions to defend and help those whose needs were brought to their notice.

   • Have you counted the cost of coming to the aid of others?

   • Are you willing to make any sacrifices involved?

Working with others

God also prepared others to be part of the process. Nehemiah was looked on with favour by the King in his mission and provided with the assistance he requested (see Nehemiah 2:1-9). Once the building of the walls began (see Nehemiah 3), each group was responsible for building or repairing one section.

Moses was given the help of Aaron and the support of the Israelite leaders (see Exodus 4:27-31).

   • Have you identified others to work alongside?

   • Are you using all the available resources?

   • Have you divided the tasks clearly so that each person can play their part?

Dealing with resistance

Nehemiah and Moses faced considerable resistance as they tried to change the situation of the people (see Nehemiah 2:10, 19-20; Exodus 5 onward). They handled those who had doubts or needs with sensitivity. They reacted to hard-heartedness and disdain with firmness. Everything was constantly referred back to God in prayer.

   • How are you handling any opposition you face?

   • How do you deal with the doubts and concerns of those you are trying to help?

Expectations and faith

If what we are doing is God's plan, it will succeed, however daunting the task seems and despite our own weaknesses—in fact God seems to prefer working in impossible situations so that the glory goes to Him (see Exodus 12:50-51, 14:29-31 and Nehemiah 6:15-16). The Lord will fulfil His purposes. Do you believe this? All glory to His name!

Rose Robinson is a former Tearfund International Personnel Worker with MOPAWI in Honduras.

Originally published as the Micah Challenge Friday Prayer, December 17, 2004.




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