faith

At a loss for words

I love writing — always have, always will. I got my first diary when I was 6, and it’s a practice I continue to this day. As time went on, this grew into new loves for writing historical fiction, research papers, essays, and persuasive writings. It was only this past October that I finally decided to try my hand at blogging.

In school, I was the student who would almost write short novels for research papers. I was a real-life Hermione Granger. Granted, I had to be passionate about what my writing pertained to; but even if I wasn’t, I was able to find ways to eloquently use words so that I never had any problems with the work I submitted.

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Yet, as much as I love writing, I’m often at a loss for words. Sometimes I really don’t know where to begin with my writing. Other times, I know what I want to write about, but my fingers remain motionless on my keyboard as I stare at my laptop screen.

Oftentimes this loss for words translates into real time. And quite honestly, in my faith. Throughout my life, I can’t count the times I’ve been on my knees in prayer and have been left speechless. Perhaps I was in awe of God and His wonders, or I felt as though I had reached my lowest point thus far in life. Regardless, I didn’t know what to say. The emotions that were so strong in my heart and the endless thoughts swarming in my mind couldn’t be articulated in my prayers.

Have you ever felt that way? Maybe in your times of prayer, you’ve felt at a loss for words. You try so hard to grasp what your heart is feeling and what you mind is thinking, yet you become frustrated at this disconnect you’re experiencing.

Or, maybe it’s been a while since you last prayed. Perhaps you can’t remember the last time you talked with God, and you don’t know where you’d begin. You find yourself asking, “what would I say? Would He listen to my prayers?” 

Psalm 145:18 says the following, “the Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.”

We can also look to Psalm 66: 17-20: “I cried out to him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer. Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!” 

None of us are faultless or without sin, so we don’t have to be sinless to approach God. However, as Psalm 66 indicated, we should not be actively pursuing and lavishing in the sins that we do pursue. I’ll be the first to confess that I can remember times when, even though I’ve loved God ever since I was a child, I acted out of deliberate sin.

When I saw that my relationship with God was not growing during these seasons, God mercifully revealed these areas of sin in my life. The weight that was lifted off of my heart was undeniable, as I could approach Him in true confession and praise.

Regardless of where we are in life, we are truly blessed to be able to approach God in prayer. Philippians 4:6 says: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” 

We have a loving Father in heaven who will listen to us. He cares about the details of our lives, what we fear, and what we dream about. You can read more about this here. Yet, I feel that sometimes it’s easy to feel that we have to present a polished version of what we want to say. Sure, we know we don’t have to be perfect, but it can feel a little awkward if we don’t know what to say. As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, we know what we want to say — we just don’t know how to say it.

However, with God’s grace, we’ve been given a blessing in the Holy Spirit. We don’t have to say “the right words” or have a script we recite without a single regard as to what we’re actually saying. We need to be, and can be, real — and the Holy Spirit helps us with the rest.

“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).

With the Holy Spirit, we’re able to pray about the things that we feel are impossible to articulate. We don’t have to feel frustrated or misunderstood; rather, we can have peace in knowing that our omnipotent God is capable of understanding the most complex thoughts and emotions we have.

And if that isn’t an encouragement, I don’t know what is.

For those of you who are reading this, I’m not able to say where you and God stand. Perhaps you’ve been following God for a long time, or have recently dedicated your life to Him. Perhaps you’ve been thinking about God’s gift of salvation through Jesus Christ for quite some time, or maybe you’ve never really thought about it before today.

I hope that you take a moment to spend time in prayer with God as you finish reading this. Whatever that prayer may be about, that’s completely between you and God. But regardless of what your relationship may be with God at the moment, I pray that this is a time of drawing closer to Him.

Truly, we are blessed to have a God who listens.

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