What to Do When You Need to Pray but…


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Have you experienced times when you had a need to pray but your heart was broken or you were terrified and you couldn't find the words? Here's help... #Prayer #BibleStudy #Blessings

For six weeks people’s eyes popped every time I walked into the room. Then they’d ask “When is your baby due?!!”

When I told them I had a month to go, their pitiful expressions said . . . oh, you poor thing!

Finally, my due date arrived and passed and still . . . no . . . baby.

To say I was more than ready was an understatement.

When my doctor decided it was time to take action I was thrilled.

Induction sounded like a great idea, but my body was overly sensitive to Pitocin. The first hard contraction came at 10:20 am and our son made his entrance 40 minutes later. A speedy delivery sounds fantastic, but this was much too fast and…

A short time later, I started hemorrhaging and needed emergency surgery.

But it was all okay . . . we had a healthy little boy.

The following day included more poking and prodding and concern about how my body was healing . . . and I just kept expressing thanks that the health issues were mine and not our baby’s. 

Weak. Tired. Emotional.

Really emotional!

When the pediatrician visited the next morning and told me they’d taken Josh to Children’s Hospital for tests after hearing a heart murmur . . . I lost it!

Poor Rev.

He was worried about me, at home with our young daughter, and preparing to officiate a wedding when the phone rang.

I remember sitting on the edge of the hospital bed sobbing. Too upset to tell him what was wrong, all I could get out was, “I need you to come and pray with me!” 

There have been a few times when I’ve been too upset to put my prayers into words. When all I had was a broken heart to offer at the throne of grace.

Maybe you’ve been there too.

You’re too upset, lost, broken, afraid, or __________ and you need to pray.

Have you experienced times when you had a need to pray but your heart was broken or you were terrified and you couldn't find the words? Here's help... #Prayer #BibleStudy #Blessings

6 Things to Do When You Need to Pray but…

Ask a Friend – When I’m too upset to put my prayers into words, I ask someone to pray for me. They don’t even need to know the circumstances. God knows.

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. 1 Timothy 2:1

Turn to His Promises – Remembering God’s faithfulness when everything feels hopeless can be just what I need to get through this moment and help me move forward to the next.

“And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20

The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8

Turn Up the Praise – Grab your favorite praise music. Songs that give you hope and remind you that God is sovereign . . . no matter how things look and feel.

But as for me, I will sing about your power. Each morning I will sing with joy about your unfailing love. For you have been my refuge, a place of safety when I am in distress. Psalm 59:16

Cry Out to Jesus – You don’t need words. You just need Jesus. Crying out, “Jesus, I need You. Please help me.” might just be the best prayer you can offer.

Morning, noon, and night I cry out in my distress, and the Lord hears my voice. Psalm 55:17

Trust the Spirit of God is Praying for You – When you and I are too weak or upset to put our prayers into words, we can trust that the Holy Spirit is praying for us and His prayers are always perfect.

 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.  And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. Romans 8:26–27

Have you experienced times when you had a need to pray but your heart was broken or you were terrified and you couldn't find the words? Here's help... #Prayer #BibleStudy #Blessings

Just Cry! – When tears are all you have, remember tears are prayers too.

One of my favorite verses:

You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. Psalm 56:8

You are never alone. Your Father knows and loves you. He is aware of every need. He sees your broken heart. He knows when you’re afraid. He collects your tears.

My goal this month is to be more intentional about prayer. But something I’m realizing these first few days is that one of the biggest parts of prayer is this:

Prayer is not about how or what. Prayer is about Who. Pray is trusting that words and posture aren’t as important as faith. Trust that God sees your broken heart and hears your sobs. 

It’s okay that you don’t have words to pray as long as you have a heart that turns to Him in prayer.

That is powerful hope especially on days when hope is hard to find and you need to pray.

A little follow-up to our birth story and Josh’s heart murmur…

My body did heal although we weren’t able to conceive again. And Josh, well, God healed his heart before he was 6 months old!

And we keep praying . . . sometimes with words and sometimes with tears.

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  1. I’m so glad I was led to your blog …. this post particularly spoke to me today. Thank you, and may God continue to bless your ministry.

    1. TJ – I’m so glad this blessed you! I appreciate you taking the time to visit and say ‘hello.’ God’s blessings to you as well!

  2. Mary Flaherty says:

    Another great post on prayer! All wonderful suggestions…and simple too. Because prayer shouldn’t be hard when we’er in a hard place, right? Sadly, I see too many of the younger generation turning away from God because they’ve been hurt by the church, or can’t fathom that a good God would allow such pain and heartache, and sometimes even abuse. Instead of turning to the only one who can offer comfort, they turn away, seeking comfort from those who will tell them what they want to hear. When I went through a divorce almost 20 years ago, I remember thinking, “How do people get through something like this without God, without the love of Jesus to pull them through, without knowing that even though something sacred fell apart, and I’m falling apart, there is one who is Most Sacred who will never fall apart—and that’s who I need to lean on right now.”

    Tears are prayers too. Yes, indeed, they are.

    Keep writing, Deb–you’re on a roll.

    1. It’s easy to look for comfort and answers in all the wrong places, isn’t it? Friends may tell us what we want to hear in the moment, but can never give us the lasting comfort that comes from God’s promises and truth. I know. I’ve tried.

      I’m so sorry you had to go through the pain of a divorce and so thankful God was able to get you through and strengthen you to serve Him the way you do today. I do believe, looking back, that many of my greatest spiritual blessings have come out of times of great pain.

      God’s blessings my friend! Thank you for blessing my heart with your kind words and encouragement. <3

  3. Wow! What a great post and a powerful story, Deb!
    Thank you for sharing from your heart and from your life.
    I’m going to share this one today!
    Sure do appreciate you~

    1. Thank you, Mel! So thankful for you and your faithful encouragement. God’s blessings!

  4. I love this, Deb. I so love that it’s ok to cry. God knows our hearts. Knowing that the Hily Spirit and others are praying is deep encouragement as well. Sharing today!

    1. Thank you, Dianne! Sometimes tears are all I have to offer. I am so thankful for the way God loves us and gathers those tears as prayers. Always involved. Always loving. We are blessed! Thanks so much for your encouragement!

  5. This is such good encouragement for those times when we just can’t get our minds focused to pray. Maybe our definition of prayer is too narrow. Our circumstances are different, but we’ve all been in that place you describe.

  6. Kim Jolly says:

    Hi Deb,

    Thank you for sharing about those times when we simply can’t pray for ourselves. I’ve been there–when my mom first got sick and then later when she passed away. I was resting fully in the prayers of others, as well as my tears and simple calling out to Jesus.


  7. Oh, Deb, my favorite part of this post is trusting God to pray for you. I remember praying with my daughter when she first came home. We were calling desperately on Jesus, but she didn’t know what we were saying. I had to trust that the Holy Spirit would both say what I couldn’t put words to and give her understanding despite our circumstances.
    Love this and sharing everywhere 🙂

  8. Amanda Nel says:

    That was just what I needed today, thank you x

  9. Lovely post, Deb. Powerful reminder that tears are a prayer our God understands for He discerns our hearts. So grateful for that! Blessings!

  10. Jason Stasyszen says:

    Solid advice, Deb. I’ve felt like this many times. I think the one that touched me most today was to “remember the Holy Spirit is praying for you.” I’m so thankful for this and I don’t remember this nearly enough. Thanks for this.

  11. Oh, Deb! Trust the Spirit of God is Praying for You, what a great reminder He is interceding for us even when we forget. Thank you for this reminder and for sharing with Thankful Thursdays.

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