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Recently, our family hit yet another wall just when we thought there was a door opening. Ever happened to you? I fell before the Lord in prayer, yet my heart was so overwhelmed that I had no words. So what did I do? I praised Him for already being in my tomorrow and knowing better than I do. And everything else I was feeling? I had to trust that He knew all the knotted concerns in my heart that I couldn’t untangle enough to verbalize.
If you’re new to prayer, if you just need a little refreshment in your prayer life, or if you get like I do and sometimes you just can’t find the words, then this post is for you.
Here are 10 things to pray when you don’t know what to say.
1. PRAISE – The Bible tells us repeatedly to “pray with thanksgiving.” Often we find ourselves praying in our darkest hour, begging God for mercy, and asking Him to solve our problems. While He is most definitely a problem solver, it is important we praise Him first and give Him thanks for all He has done.
I can’t speak for every person, but if you’re reading this, you likely have luxuries that most people take for granted. Be thankful for these things and express verbal gratitude.
If for nothing else, and I know there is always something else, we should be thankful for His love and the sacrifice He made when He entered our world in human form as Jesus and died for us. I don’t think many people take time to really consider what Jesus endured in suffering before and during His crucifixion on the cross and the death He encountered. Meditate on that and remember the sacrifice that was made for us.
Can you give Him praise today?
2. THE LORD’S PRAYER – Jesus modeled prayer for His disciples when He prayed what we call “The Lord’s Prayer.” The disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray as John had taught. While we don’t have record of John’s prayers, I can’t imagine anything better than following the prayer example of Jesus.
3. CONFESSION/FORGIVENESS – Feeling convicted? That’s the Holy Spirit. Listen to Him. Confess your sins to God. Ask Him for forgiveness. We ALL fall short of His glory and we ALL sin. Find freedom in Jesus. He paid for our sins when He died on the cross. When we ask for forgiveness, the Bible tells us that God throws our sins in the depths of the sea (Micah 7:19). When the Bible says He forgives, He actually forgives. No person is too far out of reach from God’s grace.
There are many believers who feel like they’re living right, they have a good heart, and for the most part they do the right thing. Christians still sin. Ask the Holy Spirit to bring to light anything you aren’t noticing that isn’t bringing God glory and ways you can be more like Jesus. Sometimes it isn’t just about what we’re doing wrong, but about the right things that we just aren’t doing.
Additionally, I want to stress that being a follower of Christ is not based on works, attitudes, or a to do list. However, as a result of your genuine, committed faith, fruit will be produced so that God may be glorified. (John 15:8)
4. SURRENDER – You may think of surrender as just being a sinner’s prayer seeking salvation. Even the saved still sin and have a desire for control, self-satisfaction, and fulfillment. We are selfish people.
Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” (Luke 9:23-24)
That is powerful stuff. We have to surrender every part of our lives every single day to Jesus to be truly fulfilled. He is the living water. Nothing is as filling or as satisfying as God’s love. When we allow Him to enter every nook and cranny in our lives we can pour out His love in every aspect as well. What we allow in is what will come out.
If there is an area of your life that you don’t want to give up, that you’re trying to stay in control over, something that right now is coming to mind because the Holy Spirit is bringing it to light for you – surrender this today, right now, to God.
5. PROVISION – God knows what we need before we even ask, but we are still called to pray. We should always come to the Father with our needs and ask for His provision. However, prayer goes beyond just asking for the things or opportunities we need or want.
Prayer has a huge impact on our perspective. God does more than just answer or not answer our prayers. He speaks to us, reveals things to us, and the Holy Spirit works within us. As a result, He adjusts our perspective on what we really need or want and what is important. In addition to providing our tangible needs, He can protect us from the enemy, bring opportunities for us to share His love, and give us wisdom and understanding of His Word.
Remember that God knows what lies in our tomorrows because He is already there. Don’t get discouraged if He hasn’t answered your prayer just yet or if the answer isn’t what you hoped for. His thoughts and His ways are better than our own. (Isaiah 55:8-9)
6. DIRECTION – Everyday of your life you are taking steps. Depending on your vision, attitude, and actions you’re either progressing along the path God has set before you or you’re getting further away from it. Whether or not you have found your purpose yet, continue seeking God’s direction.
Aside from finding purpose, there are constant choices being made, big and small, both mental and behavioral, and some which are life-changing. Ask the Holy Spirit to direct your path and give you discernment and guidance for that decision you’re trying to make.
As always, check the Bible and see what God says about your situation or choice. His Word will be a lamp unto your feet! (Psalm 109:105)
7. FAITH – The Bible tells us to wear the shield of faith and this is simply trusting God. Only it isn’t always that simple. As Priscilla Shirer puts it in her Bible study, The Armour of God, faith is “acting like God is telling the truth” and trusting that God is who He says He is.
Courage then comes after trusting that God is who He says He is. With courage and faith, we can go where God leads us to go because we trust that He is already there. I didn’t start this blog for any other reason except for the fact that it is what God lead me to do. And even then, I put it off for about a year. Because I was scared. Because I was afraid of not being successful. I was afraid no one would read this.
None of that matters in reality. When God tells you to go, girl, you better go!
I had to pray A LOT about this. Praying for God to strengthen my faith and help me trust that He would provide. Asking Him to give me direction, discernment, and then courage and boldness to step out of my comfort zone and GO!
8. DECLARATION – This is one my favorite things to not only pray, but to sing in worship as well. Declare Who God is, declare your belief that He is holy, almighty, the King of Kings, our Savior, the Beginning and the End. Proclaim His victory!
As you begin to pray or sing these words with confidence, you will be reminded of how great God is and His peace will wash over every anxious thought, fear, and worry.
Hillsong – This I Believe
9. DESIRE – Most people don’t have a problem coming up with this one! This is somewhat in line with provision and praying that God will provide for us. Our desires may not necessarily be the tangible things we need to survive or things that we think might bring a little more happiness. Desires can be things like healing over a broken relationship, financial stability, a career opportunity, being able to have a child, etc.
Bring God all the desires of your heart, but also pray that He will align your desires with His will. There are things in life I want so badly. I’m not referring to a new TV or a boat or something like that. I’m talking about genuine friendships, personal growth, spiritual maturity, wisdom and understanding of His Word, more patience with my children, courage to be more extroverted, and so forth. Let’s include these in our prayers!
10. SALVATION – I’m not talking about your own salvation, although if you don’t already know Jesus as Savior and want salvation, then please contact me and let’s connect.
I’m talking about the salvation of those who don’t know Jesus as Lord. We can pray and ask God to reveal Himself to others in ways we can’t. To people in every corner of the world. We can ask Him to open their eyes, soften their hearts, and surrender their lives to Him.
Pray that God will lead you to someone who doesn’t know Jesus. Ask God to give you bold courage to be the light of the world and give you opportunities to share His love and the gospel of Jesus to those around you.
Isn’t that what this is all about anyways?