Some things you never forget.
The phone call in the middle of the night. The sound of heavy steps in the hallway and a door closing. The noise of a car door opening and shutting, and the hum of our Chevrolet sedan whispering the truth through my open window as our car backed out of the driveway into the street.
Then silence. But sleep wouldn’t come again for a while. My eyes might try to close, but imagination would pry them open with invisible toothpicks: Who is it this time, Lord? A baby? A mother, father, teenager, child?
An accident? A death? A domestic issue? A desperate plea for prayer?
The familiar scenario repeated itself as the years flew by in my childhood and teenage years. Like a doctor on twenty-four-hour duty, my father answered the calls that interrupted his loud snores. Another need. One more crisis. Another cry for help.
But the memories don’t stop there. I added, “minister’s wife” to “pastor’s daughter,” when I married. Because my husband’s call to ministry was to a “Person” (Jesus), not to a particular position, his church roles led him at different times to “Youth Minister,” “Pastor” and “Associate Pastor” responsibilities.
So the calls still came, whether in daylight or dark. Occasionally, I joined my husband as his silent partner, with only love, tears, a hug, and an unspoken prayer to offer. God had to do the rest.
And He did. He does. And He will.
When You Don’t Know What to Pray
I wish I had known years ago what I know now. I didn’t always know what to pray, but God, as my faithful Father, saw the longing of my silent tears during those times of neediness and crises.
Sometimes, even now, audible words hide in the crevices of my heart, whether I’m praying for my own needs or the needs of others. But as the truths in God’s Word reveal, when we don’t know what to pray, He is the One who will help us and who intercedes for us. In every situation, every crisis, and every need, He holds our hands in His.
As I read His words in the Bible, I sense His Spirit assuring us that He is always ready to help. I can only imagine what He might whisper to you or me:
When You Don’t Know What to Pray
The One Who Intercedes for You
In the same way, 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
FROM YOUR FAITHFUL FATHER’S HEART
My child, You’ll experience so many times when you come into My presence without the faintest idea how to express yourself. How could I, the Holy One, hear your prayers in the first place? At times, you even feel like a child whose vocabulary hasn’t progressed beyond kindergarten. Don’t worry about knowing the right words to say when you talk to Me. I hear Your heart. When you need an intercessor, My Spirit searches your heart and sees the deepest desires hidden there. You will also have moments when your pain is so deep you cannot even speak. Tears cloud your heart, and words refuse to come.
Whether you feel helpless, lonely, broken, or sad, I know your need. And when you don’t know how or what to pray for others? You’re not alone. Because My ways are different from yours, you won’t always understand what to pray. Don’t let that stop you from pouring out your heart to Me, either in tearful cries or spoken words. My Spirit will take those groanings and form them into a prayer that is My will for you. In time, I will give you peace about those issues. When you don’t know what to say, I am still the One who intercedes for you—perfectly.
And my heart overflows with gratitude at His words:
FROM A GRATEFUL HEART
Lord, sometimes I feel tongue-tied when I step onto holy ground. What can I say to the One who left heaven for me? How can I communicate with the God who created all things, the One who holds the world in His hands? Other times, the hurts in my heart are like boulders so great that I can’t possibly move them. Words hide in the broken places of my soul.
Thank You for reminding me that You hear the deepest needs of my heart, even when I can’t verbalize them. Thank You that You are the One who intercedes for me as I pray for others, and You also offer intercession against the power of sin in my own life. You know me so well. Purify the desires of my heart, Lord, so that the motives behind my requests are not solely to relieve my pain or discomfort, but to glorify You in the situation, no matter what happens.
When God hears you pray, He focuses on your heart, not your words.
*Portions of this post are adapted from Day-votions with Your Faithful Father: 90 Days with the One Who Wants to Meet All Your Needs, (c) 2022, Rebecca Barlow Jordan. Used by permission, All Rights Reserved.
Would You Like to Discover Your Faithful Father’s Heart?
I’m passionate about helping you discover God’s heart in a greater way. January 31 is the launch day for my newest book in the award-winning Day-votions® series: Day-votions® with Your Faithful Father: 90 Days with the One Who Wants to Meet All Your Needs.
Based on God’s attributes and activity, with truths drawn from His powerful Word, this 90-day spiritual and devotional encounter will help you renew your hope, joy, peace, and trust in the One who is faithful and unchangeable.
Through intimate prayer conversations with your heavenly Father, focused Bible verses (over 450 written out), powerful truths, reflective Bible study questions, and even journal pages, this book will help you deepen your relationship with the One who longs to meet all your needs.
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