I often don’t know how to pray. I simply have no words.
No words to articulate what’s on my heart.
No words because I’m so tired and I’m all out of thoughts.
No words because I’m simply not sure where to start.
Or, more often than not, I have no words because I’m simply distracted and would rather go and walk the dog or put the next load of laundry in the dryer put my butt in a chair and pray.
With all that’s going on in the world right now – a global pandemic, wildfires, hurricanes and floods, social unrest and global warming, not to mention a looming presidential election – all piled on top of what day-to-day life throws at us, it can be hard to know what to pray.
Where do you start when you have no words to pray?
I’ve been there and done that. Heck, I’ve even got the t-shirt to prove it. I’m even there today, right at this moment!
I sit down to pray and I just don’t know where to start. No words. No words to express the mess we/I am in, no words to encompass all I want/need God to see and fix, no words that remember what he’s done in the past.
For this extrovert who’s never met a silence she can’t fill, being at a loss for words is frustrating and uncomfortable.
Maybe you’re there too, so, I wanted to share these 3 ways to pray when you have no words.
But…before I do that I want to look you in the eye and boss you for a moment. You need to hear me on this.
Just because we have no words to pray it doesn’t mean our faith is weak. It simply means we are out of words. When we’re struggling to pray let’s not add shame into the mix making it even harder than it needs to be.Just because we have no words to pray it doesn't mean our faith is weak. It simply means we are out of words. When we're struggling to pray let's not add shame into the mix making it even harder than it needs to be. Click To Tweet
Okay, now we’ve got that out of the way, here are three ways to pray when you’re struggling to find words.
3 ways to pray when you have no words.
They’re not rocket science and, somehow, that’s the power and practicality behind them. It means I actually do them, because I can and don’t need a theology degree or a unfathomable amount of discipline, motivation or equipment. They’re not too complicated or lofty. In a nut shell they’re;
1.Use an Devotion
The upside of using a devotion is that someone else has done the work of finding a scripture, gleaning some encouragement from it and often even writing out a prayer for you. You can allow yourself to be guided and lead through a scripture, thought and prayer making it your own and applying to your personal situation.
Whether you like to read in a book with real paper pages or you can’t be parted from your e-reader, there’s a devotion for you. I’m enjoying the small but might book, One Minute Prayers to Unwind a Worried Mind
Or there are hundreds of devotions on the free YouVersion bible app. You could try the one that goes with my book Breathe Again.
If you’re more of an audio person I’m loving this devotional prayer podcast Prayers of Rest by my friend Asheritah CiuCiu.
2. Pray as you worship
Whether your voice would empty a room or draw crowds it doesn’t matter when we worship. It’s about entering his presence and we can sing at the top of our voices or sit silently and simply enter in. You get to pick.
Many worship leaders are men and women of prayer and consequently their songs are often prayers set to music. What I love about podcasts and worship is that I can pray outside while I walk or run. Somehow the words come more easily as my body moves.
Why not try the Breathe Again playlist I made for you and pray the words of the songs back to God when they put words to your deepest thoughts.
3. Pray a Psalm
Like modern worship, Psalms are simply prayers that were often set to music and I love their honesty, vulnerability and poetry. There’s one for pretty much anything we’re feeling. Reading them and turning them back into prayer is a great way to put words to things we can only sense and not articulate.
Why not try Psalm 121:1-8, Psalm 91:1-4, or Psalm 46: 1-11
1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.c
3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
How do you pray when you’re struggling to find the words for any reason at all. Let me know in the comments below.
And if you’re going through a rough time right now and need someone whose been there and understands and has a road map to get you unstuck from merely surviving life to thriving right where you are, grab a couple of free chapters of my book Breathe Again: How to Live Well When Life Falls Apart.
It’s part spiritual coach, part BFF and 100% down to earth and has prayers at the end of each chapter you can make your own.
Grab your free chapters HERE