Prayer is a gift. Prayer is a privilege. But what do we do when we don’t have the words to pray? Whether from tragedy, fatigue, living on autopilot, busyness, or something else, there have certainly been times in my life when the words just don’t form.
Can you relate?
Perhaps this is when we need to pause and remember what prayer is and why we pray. Prayer isn’t a method of telling God something He doesn’t know, and it isn’t a magical way to get what we want. Prayer is simply (and profoundly and gloriously!) a conversation with our Creator. Prayer is a way for us to hand over our concerns and worries. Prayer is how God designed our hearts to communicate with Him–it is what we were created to do and is more natural than texting a friend! God isn’t getting acquainted with us when we pray. We are getting to know Him.
We are encouraged to pour out our hearts to Him and cast our cares on Him. Why? Because He is our refuge and He cares for us.
Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. Psalm 62:8
Cast all your cares on Him, because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
When we have no words, perhaps we can remember that prayer is not about our words, however eloquent they may be. Prayer is a time to be with our Father who loves us.
And yet, even when we know what prayer is, the words may still be elusive. When that happens there are a few truths we want to remember…
We remember who we belong to and the price He paid for us
We remember who He says we are
We remember when He wooed our hearts to Himself
We remember the good He’s done in our lives
We remember the good He’s done through our lives
We remember even the worst days are temporary
We remember there is no “ebb and flow” to these truths. They are strong and sure and do not shift in response to our abundant (or lack of) prayers.
Listen to two of the most profound Scriptures teaching us how to be with God:
Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted above the nations. I will be exalted over the earth. Psalm 46:10
This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. Isaiah 30:15
In our pragmatic and productive society, sometimes it’s difficult to sit in the quiet. Even in prayer we often have a drive to “be productive.”
Consider that being quiet may not be a problem to solve. It might be one of the goals of being with the Lord. Maybe it’s time to listen.