One of my biggest frustrations as a pastor is helplessness. I often get asked to do something, when whatever I do gets ignored or rebuffed. Sometimes I haven't a clue what to do. Other times words fail me. I don't think of myself as a do-gooder. I have no illusions about my personal righteousness or wisdom. I don't go about, as the Aussies say, "Sticky-Beaking" others business. I usually only step in when asked. Still, it's hardest when your helping hand gets snapped at.
The medical profession has a firm rule: DO NO HARM. One of my grad-school professors suggested that would make a fine motto for the ministry, as well. If I can't do anything for another, the least I can do is refrain from making the situation worse. Even better, perhaps I might leave a bit of good will for the next helping hand that comes along.
At times like these, when I can do nothing else I can pray. I can ask for wisdom for myself. I can ask for truly wise words. I can ask for compassion in dealing with an unlovable person. I must also seek that persons good. Prayer for another need not be filled with specifics; I trust God to know their needs better than I. I even practice retroactive prayer--praying for a bad event after it's happened. Who knows that in eternity we may find God changed time. It's worth a prayer.
I know prayer has changed my hard, cold heart. I believe prayer can change the circumstances and hearts of others, as well.