Wordless Prayer

Allison Stevens —  January 4, 2010 — 13 Comments

Half-pint, Laura Ingalls’s, tells her mother in an episode of Little House on the Prairie that she has an essay to write for school, but that the words just won’t come out.  She explains to her mama that she has words in her head, but that she can’t get them onto the paper.

I know the feeling!

Sometimes, I just can’t figure out a way to get what I’m thinking onto the paper, or even to develop them into a spoken sentence, which definitely affects my prayer life. There are days when I don’t even know what to ask of the Lord. Sometimes the problem I’m facing is so difficult that I’m overwhelmed with feelings and I can’t sort through them enough to pick words to describe them. Or the problem is so chronic that I’ve prayed about it a million times and now I’m out of words.

When this happens, I feel frustrated and a little discouraged. But then I remember that when words are shy, the Holy Spirit is there to intercede for us (Romans 8:26-27). He finds words for us and arbitrates on our behalf. We don’t have to be eloquent or lofty.  We just need to continue to pray and share our hearts with God. He hears us and His Spirit pleads for us. That’s a great comfort to me today because it’s one of those days where I just can’t find the words.

hand reaching out for words

Allison Stevens

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13 responses to Wordless Prayer

  1. Last night I spoke with a friend who has been feeling hopeless for a long time and I’ve tried to help her see that there is hope and to just hang on. In last nights conversation the tables had turned and it was I who just felt hopeless. She could hear it in my voice and as we continued to talk I told her that I didn’t know how to explain what I was feeling, I couldn’t put it into words. She understood and she tried to encourage me.

    Sometimes it “feels” as though there is no one in the world who understands, no one who truly cares, and no one who “sees” you. It’s the loneliest feeling, and while perhaps it’s not an accurate picture of our current place in the world, it sure feels like it. Sometimes there just aren’t words in a language that seems to have words to fit every emotion, idea, feeling, experience, etc. Sometimes words just fail to do justice to the thoughts spilling through my mind.
    I don’t understand how this works, that the spirit speaks for you, but it is a comforting thought.
    I needed to hear this today. It was pretty timely. I know someone else who needs to hear it as well and have forwarded the article on to her.
    Thank you, and I hope the spirit gives you the words you need today.

  2. Allison Stevens January 4, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    Thank you! I’m glad this has encouraged you and I hope your friend is comforted and encouraged as well.

  3. I’ve often encountered my own silence silence in prayer, yet that does not mean there’s no communication. The Lord knows my predicament and sometimes comforts me in the middle of the messes I’ve created to cause the silence.

    I wrote a short poem about such an encounter with Him, entitled “Reverence.”
    Prayer comes slowly tonight.

    I have no words for the Almighty, but his own:
    “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name”
    … then silence …

    His wordless presence permeates my soul
    … the stillness is full of Him.

    Minutes pass with no words, no conclusion
    … no amen.

    Only unanswered questions remain
    as His holy embrace assails consciousness
    … grace evident in sleep

    Reverently, I snore “amen!”

  4. I thought I was all alone in not being able to find the words to pray. Thank you for your insight. I tend to forget how powerful the Holy Spirit is and this article is a strong reminder that I am never alone, I am never without conversing with God. That no matter how I struggle with the words, God knows what’s in my heart and the Holy Spirit will take it to Him.

  5. I know what you mean about feeling alone in thinking something Mary, and it does help to realize that you’re not, even if you never meet someone face to face who has had the same thoughts. Sometimes I wish that God was real. I mean in a physical sense, as in actually here, right now, you can see him and hear him. That’s not coming out right. I believe he’s real as in exists, but sometimes, even if you don’t want to admit it you just need to be held. In a real way, a safe way. Not to long or anything, just enough to help you take a deep breath and know that you’ll be ok. Sometimes that’s all it takes, but you just usually don’t get it. I suppose that’s when it’s most important to remember that you can ask the spirit to talk to God for you. And sometimes if you can find nothing else you find a little article on the web that draws you back and offers that quiet voice that says, “I know.”

  6. I continue to struggle with anger issues. Even though I’ve been a Christian for over 23 years, I can’t seem to get over this hurdle in my life. I especially have a problem with reacting wrongly when I feel unjustly accused of something. What can I do to defuse this behavior?

  7. I hope someone can help me with something I’ve been struggling with for many years. I have a problem with reacting in a negative way when someone mistreats me. What can I do to defuse a situation like this? Thank you.

  8. Andie,

    I found that these scriptures help me to celebrate when situations like these happen to me:

    But the Lord is with me as a dread warrior;
    therefore my persecutors will stumble;
    they will not overcome me.
    They will be greatly shamed,
    for they will not succeed.
    Their eternal dishonor
    will never be forgotten.
    —Jeremiah 20:11

    “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
    “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. —Matthew 5:10-12

    “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. —John 15:18-20

    When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.—Acts 14:21-22

    Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,

    “For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
    we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

    No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. —Romans 8:35-39

    We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.
    —2 Corinthians 4:8-11


  9. Andie,
    I have the same problem and have found much help in getting counseling. I have a problem with turning the anger inward and it coming out in depression. I am also very quick with an angry retort. I have found that it just takes to much energy to hold on to those feelings and have to go through the process of forgiveness whether the person asks or not for it. Now I am working on taking a breathe and asking myself is this really worth the trouble or can I allow this into the hands of our Glorious God to take care of and not return evil for evil.

  10. Hi.

    I’m trying something new here, because i don’t trust people, (or rather people that I look up to), not to disappoint, manipulate, or hurt me. I’m here to ask fellow Christians for help with something I struggle with every day, and that is how to connect with my baby girl. She’s four years old now, but In an very selfish way, I’m mostly just not interested in being around her much. I Love her, but have a hard time being all she needs me to be for her as a mom. I find that I have to pretend to be interested in what she says. I don’t really care to spend too much time entertaining her, so she watches TV most of the day(controlled-DVD’s Only). That kind of thing. I don’t want to be disconnected from her at all, but I can’t pretend aether. I want very much to be a good Mom, and mean every bit of it. Please help, for I know Only the word of God can.

  11. Hi clrtz,
    I hope it’s ok to respond to your post. I actually came on here to see if a new article had been written and saw your post. I totally understand the difficulty trusting people, it’s a constant struggle for me. Coming on here, posting, it’s a risk. Unfortunately there’s always a risk of people letting you down, disappointing you and sometimes even some manipulation. There’s the risk that others will hurt you that way and the risk that you or I will perhaps even unintentionally do so to someone else. Depending on where we’re at sometimes it’s even done intentionally. But, as far as the people who staff this site, you’re safe. They don’t do that and they don’t judge, but there’s a lot of people who post here. I think most are very well intentioned and care. I’ve found this site to be helpful and I hope you will to. Your story touched me and I hurt for you. What a wonderful gift to have a four year old little princess. They can be such a joy and exhausting at that age. Maybe demanding sometimes too, but you know what, they love us, their mom’s unconditionally. Your little girl is a gift and you are a gift to her. Wading through all the relationship stuff can be … well… just really hard. Doesn’t make you a bad mom. I don’t have any answers, I’m sorry and I don’t know any bible verses, but I did want to share something. I think it’s great that you asked for help here and that you want the relationship with your daughter to change. From experience I can share something that I’ve come to realize is so important for every child. Spending time with them is great, doing things with them is great, but what they need most is to know they are heard. That they matter. That they are seen by the most important person in their world. All the other stuff, it’s more like fluff and can be exhausting. I think maybe it’s your heart that she wants, but maybe doesn’t know how to ask for it. And based on your post you are a good mom who wants to be there for her little girl. Anywway, I’m not sure if any of that was helpful, or right, but I wanted to respond to you just so that you would know that you’re heard and your heart matters to someone.

  12. We are in a crisis!We’re in real estate and we’re getting ready to crash and burn. My husband is an elder in the church and we have always been faithful with our time money and talents. Because of our business we have given more than $50,000 to our church in the last 3 years. We’ve helped lots of peaple avoid foreclosure. We’re good people. So why? Why won’t God answer us. If we go down we will hurt a lot of people. Is that Gods will for us. Are we to start over with nothing in our 50’s I’ve never felt so sick and tired.

  13. Sandy. I am in a similar situation, have served faithfully for 18 years, and we are facing an illness that stands to remove me from work. I thought it would strengthen our faith, but it is breaking it down. I think it is important to see this life truely as a pilgrimage. I think it is the loss of status that hurts the most. I know, also, that the enemy will use our thoughts to imagine a worse scenario. That breaks down faith in Christ and creates far more damage than material. Be strong in the faith.

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