God Helps Those Who Help Themselves – Proverb Meaning and Expansion of idea


The proverb ‘God helps those who help themselves’ means that one is able to overcome the difficulties mainly through self-help. Even fortune, luck, or so-called divine intervention; appear for only those who are constantly assertive themselves. For those who don’t make an effort but rather sit idly waiting for God to intervene and resolve their difficulties; God never intervenes in any form whatsoever and their problems only get bigger.

The message of the proverb is very clear – pray to God in difficult times but at the same time try your best to overcome the difficulties. If you fight adversities with faith in God and yourself, you will definitely see the light of the day.

Expansion of idea

The proverb ‘God helps those who help themselves’, conveys that if only one helps himself that he will be favored by God. On the other hand, if we don’t effort to come out of a difficulty or to achieve our goals; then God will never intervene to make our struggle smooth. God only intervenes when the person himself is making efforts to turn the tide.

Only someone who is laborious and hardworking will be favored by luck and might get help from certain unexpected quarters. On the other hand, someone who doesn’t work but just wait and watch will not get helped by anyone, not even God.

Another concept could be that – when you are looking for solutions, then only you get solutions to whatever problems you are facing. Call it God’s grace, or divine intervention, or whatever you may like, a solution comes only when you are looking for it and will be worth it only if you are prepared for it; otherwise, nothing changes and you will remain deep inside troubles.

Short Stories on ‘God Help Those Who Help Themselves’

A well-written story on a proverb is the best way to understand the true meaning of the proverb in an entertaining way. I have given below a couple of stories on the proverb ‘God helps those who help themselves’, for you to read and get inspired.

Short Story 1

A wealthy businessman had two sons named Dhyanchand and Karamchand. Dhyanchand used to always sit in Dhyan always, doing nothing but meditating, trying to connect with the almighty; that’s what he thought. Karamchand on the other hand believed in karma and worked laboriously to fetch a living.

Once the village was hit by drought and water became so scarce that every drop became precious and people stopped offering water to guests. Karamchand because of his nature refused to accept the situation and started thinking of ways to get water for the village anyhow. Dhyanchand on the other hand started giving more time in worshipping God, praying for the rain.

Karamchand collected a number of hard-working men like him and started digging for a well at an appropriate place. It took months but finally, they succeeded and the water ran out of the well. They were overjoyed and thanked God for their success.

When Dhyanchand heard the news, he was happy but at the same time also confused. Having immense faith in almighty, he was thinking as to why God didn’t respond to his requests for rain. The answer to Dhyanchand’s question was given by his businessman father who told him – Son this is a very important lesson and you must remember it always that ‘God helps those who help themselves’. Karamchand was determined to help him and the village; therefore, God favored him with water in the well. On the other hand, you were doing nothing but praying, that’s why God hasn’t responded.

Short Story 2

Once there lived a poor fisherman who never had plenty of catch. While others were getting tons of fishes, this man barely managed to procure just enough to feed his family. He was tired and sick of his failure and hard luck.

But what he didn’t know or perhaps neglected was the fact that other fishermen went to the sea during high tide and stayed till the tide gets low again. Our fisherman had no such strategy and was starting for the voyage only during the low tide as it is less risky and easy sail as well. His wife though told him one day that if they want to get rich they have to take risks as others do. She said that – unless we take a risk and go for a sail when the tide is high; we wouldn’t get anything at all!! She also supported her claim with the proverb – ‘God helps those who help themselves’.

Fortunately, the fisherman understood his wife’s words and set sail with other fishermen during high tide. It was risky, but God helped him and others to sail steadily and rewarded all of them with good and plenty catch. Our fisherman came back home to his family, happy as never before, and thanked his wife for genuine advice.


An example is the best way to understand a proverb. Keeping this in mind, I have given below some fresh examples on the proverb ‘God helps those who help themselves’. Hopefully, these examples will let you understand the true meaning of the proverb in a better way.

“Before the coach could recognize his talent; Ronil, practiced with bat and ball alone for five years every day. Even then it was lucky for Ronil to get selected among hundreds of potential candidates. It is rightly said that ‘God help those who help themselves’.”

“Those students, who never study for the examination, neither score well nor get lucky enough to get a couple of familiar questions; truly – God helps those who help themselves.”

“Only on those hard-working farmers who work hard in fields, hoping that it would rain one day and the crops would abound; the God smiles and showers rain over the fields. Now the farmers could cherish the fruits of their own hard work, with a little help from God of course. God helps those who help themselves.”

“Only the chicks those continuously flap their wings to fly; fall and then try again; escape to the safety of the sky. Others are eaten by predators. Very true that God helps those who help themselves.”

“Someone who is free-falling from a cliff will, fortunately, get hold of something only if he reaches out for it. If he didn’t, nothing can help him, not even God. Very true that God helps those who help themselves.”


Proverbs with similar meanings have been documented in several Greek works of ancient times. Sophocles, an ancient Greek tragedian, in his play Philoctetes (c. 409 B.C.) had written – ‘No good e’er comes of leisure purposeless, and heaven ne’er helps the men who will not act’. Meaning that no good comes to those who just sit and relax without any purpose and not even heaven or God come for their help. It is not exactly as the proverb ‘God helps those who help themselves, but has an almost similar meaning.

Another similar phrase is credited to the Roma poet Publius Ovidius Naso who wrote “God himself help those who dare”; another phrase with a similar meaning as the proverb in the subject.

The first-ever exact rendering of the phrase ‘god helps those who help themselves’ was said by Algernon Sydney, an English political theorist. Later on, the proverb was used by many politicians and others throughout the globe.


The proverb ‘God helps those who help themselves’ is very important from the point of view that it teaches us a very significant fact of life; the fact that unless we help ourselves, nothing can change. If we are idly sitting without an effort then not even God can help us overcome the problems or achieve milestones.

The proverb is important for everyone, from any walk of life – students, professionals, housewives, etc. It is also important for someone who is caught in an unwanted situation and also for someone who wanted to achieve a particular goal. It teaches us to be self-reliant and have faith in God.