I kind of feel like prayer is my “thing,” you know? It’s what I’m called to do, something I’m passionate about, yet praying out loud, in front of people makes me incredibly anxious. I trip over my words, or worse, can’t find my words. It seems messy. I listen to others pray out loud and it’s so beautiful and almost poetic. I’m sure it pleases the Lord. They use lots and lots of words. They use elegant phrases and quote Scripture. Their prayers are filled with praises and portray their faith and confidence in our Heavenly Father. And then, it’s my turn.
My prayers are short and to the point so there’s less tripping over words: Dear Father, thank you for this, please do that for this person, please help me with such and so. I love you and praise You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
God knows what’s in my heart. I know what’s in my heart, so why is it so difficult to convey out loud? I got to thinking, maybe other people feel like this also, and so I want to touch on it a little bit here, and then more extensively later. I’ve started “studying” prayer lately and have been praying about praying. I’ve come up with a few suggestions that have helped me:
- I practice. When I say my prayers in the morning, and at night, I say them out loud. I still keep my conversational prayers silent. There’s a difference in how our brain processes thoughts when speak the thoughts versus keeping the thoughts internal. I discovered this when I was driving and would think of something I wanted to write, I’d try to record it but couldn’t repeat the words as they were in my head. However, when I got to where I was going and wrote down my words, it seemed easier. (Maybe it’s just me?)
- When I come across a Bible verse of praise that conveys how I feel about God, I write it down. Then, I try to use it in my prayers, praying Scripture to God.
- I ask the Holy Spirit for the words. This has made the biggest difference in my out loud prayer life. I simply pray for the words to convey what I want to say, to express what’s in my heart.
It’s my belief that there’s no right or wrong way to pray, but I do try to follow the structure set forth in The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4) because it was given to us specifically to teach us how to pray. During those times when I feel the need to pray but have absolutely no words at all, I pray The Lord’s Prayer and actually receive a sense of joy and understanding from the Holy Spirit afterward.
My prayers will probably never be eloquent, but they will always be from the heart. Prayer fascinates me. It’s our direct connection to the Living God, the Creator of the universe. Somewhere in the Psalms, David asks God who am I that You hear me? I think of that all the time. I’m but a speck in this huge universe yet God hears me and even better than that, He listens. How amazing is that?!
David Guzik from Enduring Word wrote this about Romans 8:26-27:
When we are weak, and do not know exactly how we should pray, God Himself (through the Holy Spirit) helps by making intercession for us…The idea is simply of communication beyond our ability to express. The deep groanings within us cannot be articulated apart from the interceding work of the Holy Spirit.
Bible Verse of the Day
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for wordsRomans 8:26 ESV
This verse makes me realize that sometimes we may not have words because there are no English words to properly convey what’s stirring in our hearts, but that’s okay because God speaks heart groaning.
Please join me this week in praying for everyone who is hurting this Christmas season. May our prayers and words bear fruit in the lives of those who need the comfort of the Holy Spirit.