Help For The Helpless

This line in Jane’s prayer reminds us that we are God’s hands and feet here on earth. It specifically echoes the biblical passages that teach us to care for orphans and widows (James 1:27) and visit prisoners (Hebrews 13:3). During Jesus’ earthly ministry, he fed, taught, healed, and cared for the people around him. As his followers, we are extensions of him, called to help the helpless and defend the powerless.

In Jane’s novels, we see many examples of practical caretaking. Mr. Knightley gives baskets of apples to the Bateses and sends his carriage for them. Edward Ferrars’s father sets up an annuity in his will for three elderly servants. Mr. Darcy uses his power and wealth to save Lydia from ruin. And Sir John Middleton offers Barton Cottage to Mrs. Dashwood “on very easy terms” after her husband’s death.

Jane prayed

. . . and heartily do we pray for the safety of all that travel by Land or by Sea, for the comfort & protection of the Orphan & Widow, & that thy pity may be shewn, upon all Captives & Prisoners.

Do you know someone who needs to experience the tangible love of God in their lives?


Dodge, Rachel. Praying with Jane: 31 Days through the Prayers of Jane Austen. Baker Publishing Group.

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Rachel Dodge

Rachel Dodge is a Jane Austen scholar and the author of Praying with Jane: 31 Days Through the Prayers of Jane Austen. She teaches college writing and literature classes and gives talks at local book clubs, libraries, and literary groups. Rachel is a regular contributor to Jane Austen’s World blog, Write That Book, Regency World Magazine, and the award-winning Inspire Writers blog. She was the keynote speaker at the Sacramento Public Library’s “How Austentatious!” series, Notable Books series, and 2014 Jane Austen Birthday Tea. Rachel is a graduate of the University of Southern California (B.A. in English and public relations) and California State University, Sacramento (M.A. in English literature). She wrote her Master’s Thesis on etiquette in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and won the 2005 Dominic J. Bazzanella Literary Award in non-fiction for “Pictures of (Im)perfection: Jane Austen’s ‘Delightful’ Elizabeth Bennet.” She is an active member of Inspire Writers, JASNA, JASNA Greater Sacramento, the L.M. Montgomery Institute, Write that Book, Literary Life, and several Downton Abbey and Jane Austen fan clubs.