When I struggle to find the words to pray , it comforts me to know that I don’t have to get the words right to connect with God. Scripture says both Jesus and the Holy Spirit are interceding for us and translating our desires, longings, and needs to God.
Here are some things I do. You can experiment and see if any of them work for you.
When I don’t know what to pray, I often reach for my Bible and pray God’s Word back to him. There are tons of prayers in the Scripture. The Psalms are full of them. One short prayer I use a lot is Jehoshaphat’s prayer when he was under attack by a vast army. He prayed, “We are without power and we don’t know what to do, but our eyes are you.” (2 Chronicles 20:12, paraphrase) That is always a relevant prayer! It is good to acknowledge our dependence on God for only are we in position to receive divine guidance and assistance.
Sometimes, I just try to sit still and focus on breathing slowly and deeply. With each exhale, I think of something I want to release from my life (doubt, fear, confusion, judgement, pride, anxiety, stress, worrying what others think of me…). Then on each inhale, I think of God’s character and what I need more of to replace that thing I’m kicking out (peace, confidence, wisdom, humility, stillness, calmness, knowing my true identity in Christ…) Less of me. More of him. Over and over and over as I grow in likeness to his son and my Savior, Jesus Christ.
The Holy Spirit himself interprets what’s in our hearts. That takes the pressure off us to adequately express us. Just sit in silence and open your heart to God. Ask him to search your heart and reveal to you whatever he wants. Full submission and surrender allows God to do the work and you to do the receiving.
The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
~ Romans 8:26-27, NIV
There are many songs and hymns that are actually prayers. In fact, that’s what the entire book of Psalms is. Whatever style or decade of music you prefer, someone has sung a prayer that you can use to talk to God. Musicians, writers, and poets often possess the ability to put into words what we are feeling but can’t express. They would be honored if you borrowed their words and melodies to pour out your heart to God.The Holy Spirit himself interprets what's in our hearts. That takes the pressure off us to adequately express us. Just sit in silence and open your heart to God. Full surrender allows God to do the work and you to do the receiving.… Click To Tweet How to pray when you don't know what to pray ~ 4 simple tips to try right now! Click To Tweet
This post was inspired by a reader who contacted me and mentioned she sometimes could not find the words to pray. Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me your greatest struggle in praying consistently or what you do to overcome obstacles to effective prayer. If you have a question or challenge, someone else does too. Let’s help each other out by sharing our stories and strategies!