I must confess…I sometimes find it difficult to pray out loud.
Do you remember as a child in Sunday school when you had prayer group and didn’t want to pray; you could elbow the person next to you and they would know to skip you and pray instead? Do you wish some days you could do that as a pastor’s/missionary’s wife? I must admit, there are times when my mind is everywhere and it is hard for me to focus and make my mouth say what is in my heart and mind! When this happens in my personal devotion time with the Lord, I will often write my prayer or just sit silent before the Lord and let His Spirit settle my mind. What do we do when this happens in a group setting and everyone is looking to us to lead in an eloquent, heart-felt petition to the Lord!? I have learned the hard way to get over myself and ‘fess-up!
I remember at a recent Wednesday night prayer meeting, it was my turn to pray and I did actually pray something but I could not even tell you what I prayed or if it even made sense! I just did it because it was my turn, I had a prayer list and that’s what I thought was expected of me. After, I felt like crying and apologized to those dear ladies, owning up to the fact that my mind was all over the place and that I was not even sure what I prayed for! The most amazing thing happened next. Those wonderful women didn’t judge me but lovingly supported me and admitted that they too often had the same struggle. We spent some time laughing at ourselves and encouraging one another in the Lord. How wonderful is the body of Christ when we are transparent with each other and bear one another’s burdens!
Another time I was praying with a close friend and spiritual mentor. I began and was feeling good as the words just flowed like an endless supply of water! I think I must have prayed for just about everything under sun! When I was done it was her turn and she simply prayed: “Father, I agree with everything my sister-in-Christ has brought before You and I lay it all at Your feet and praise You for Your answers.” That was it! That’s all she prayed! That was such a humbling, profound moment for me in my spiritual growth. The Lord impressed upon my heart that prayer has never been about my many flowery words or about my endless list of needs but rather yielding to the authority of God in my life, obeying His will and praising His holy name.
I am reminded of Roman’s 8:26&27. “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weaknesses, for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groaning too deep for words, and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”
Wow! Let that sink in! The Spirit Himself intercedes for us according to the will of God when we don’t have the words to pray! In Christ we can come ourselves before the throne of grace in prayer or when we are weak we can rest in His Spirit and He who searches our hearts will pray for us. So pray on, my friend and when you can’t the very God who created you and holds the universe in His hand prays for you!