Sometimes I simply don’t know what to say even to the One with whom I am most intimate. After He has told me His heart’s desires and His dreams for my life, I stand perplexed and have no idea what to say back. He is my most tender Father and will grant every prayer I pray in the name of my brother and lord, Jesus Christ. I have the treasure room of the richest Being that exists available to me, and yet I stand perplexed as to what I should request.
Another of my brothers had this problem a few millennia ago. He observed, “We don’t know what we ought to pray for.” You’re telling me.
I have reached a season in my life in which I simply have no idea. I do not flounder in my confidence in God. I do not wonder whether He has called, anointed and appointed me. I just don’t know what to ask for the right now. Am I supposed to pray for or against certain circumstances? I don’t know. It can be so easy to make snap judgements about what is “right”, but in the words someone else just posted on Twitter, we need more and more to discern between what is proChristian versus actually Christ-centered.
I have found various solutions to my dilemma. The first was simply to begin praying a whole lot more in tongues. I don’t know what to ask God anyway. I don’t know what my end of the conversation should look like, so why not just not even know what I am saying at all? Why not simply let my spirit commune directly with Him?
My “quiet time” had already been all budgeted out, and I couldn’t imagine adding more. I decided instead to just add praying in tongues to all the parts of my day where I can pray and do something else. During every mundane task I do whether it is cooking, walking or getting ready in the morning, I am working to build the habit of allowing myself to talk to Him in this way.
It has had some pretty positive benefits. 1.) My sense of control has to be released. Not only do I not know what I should pray for; now I don’t know what I actually am praying for. 2.) I can conquer intercession for people without even knowing it. 3.) I can pray in my mind while my spirit is praying with my lips. 4.) I have begun to experience uncontainable and irrepressible hope and joy. I chalk it up to really ramping up my prayer life.
Historically, I have been rather embarrassed by praying in tongues. Largely because my prayer language doesn’t sound cool. I wouldn’t want anyone to hear me. It would be embarrassing, and I might feel judged. Mine isn’t the beautiful language that I have heard from the lips of one of my friends. Mine is pretty basic and definitely doesn’t sound beautiful to my English hearing ears. I think God gave it to me, so that I wouldn’t be proud. Had He given me something beautiful or something that sounded like Greek or Hebrew, I would have been real proud. I know I would have. He wanted it to be about communion with Him. He is pretty into things being about Him.
“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.”
Not only can my spirit pray to Him, but also His Spirit intercedes for me. Lately I have been under heavy spiritual warfare. I have been telling God that I will fight with His Word down here and trust the angels are fighting for me well in the heavenly realms. I can’t do everything, but I can use every tool He has given me to fight the good fight.
“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.”
Jesus is at God’s right hand interceding for me. The Spirit is interceding for me. I have all the heavenly hosts on my side. The “odds” that we win are really good.
A friend texted me recently, “God the Father, the Son, the Spirit, all the angels and I are all rooting for you!” It was such an amazing text to receive. I think of it often even if it is a few weeks later.
Also the increase in my prayer life has led to a lot more spontaneous praise in my life. God deserves much more than all the spontaneous praise I can give Him. He is the Alpha and Omega of my being. I look forward to eternity with Him. Some people think I have nothing to look forward to; oh, but I look forward to something every single day. One day this virgin who is pledged to be married will be married to Him. Until then, she will prepare herself for the occasion. He does such a good job of making me beautiful.
Someday. Soon. I will experience unspeakable joy.
What do you pray when you don’t know what to say?