Praying When You Can't Find the Words
Here’s the truth …
Have you ever experienced a time when you couldn't pray or maybe you didn't know “how” to pray? I have, and I want to share with you what God has and is teaching me about the precious gift of prayer.
Prayer is an awesome thing. It is our direct access to God. Isn't that amazing? I can enter the very presence of God by prayer. There is no call-waiting, no busy signal, no fees. It is free, unlimited, any time of the day or night, direct access to God with no roaming charges!
But, “how” do we pray? God has given us some helpful guidelines: “Be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ” (Philippians 4:6-7 KJV).
In 2010, my husband and I were blessed with our fifth child, Josie Grace. We were so excited to welcome another little one into our family. Like her brothers and sisters, Josie arrived early and was immediately taken to the NICU (Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit). While months of detailed pre-natal ultrasounds showed that she was healthy, we were shocked to find out the reality of her little life. Josie was born with several heart defects.
As we were being hit with this news, we were completely overwhelmed by what we were seeing and being told by the doctors about Josie. We felt blindsided by it all. Over and over we begged God to fix her little heart. We would go to our heavenly Father to pray. The peace that He sent truly passed our understanding.
But honestly, there were many, many times that we just didn't know how or what to pray. We were told that the only way for Josie to survive was to have heart surgery. We were so scared. She was so tiny. Would she be able to handle this?
After her surgery, her doctors came out to talk to us. He told us that her heart could not be fixed the way they originally thought. While we waited through another week, the doctors tried to formulate another plan. We tried to pray. But how? Do we selfishly pray that she lives just one more day, knowing that the doctors probably could not fix her heart? Or, do we pray that God takes her Home to Heaven when we so desperately wanted her here with us? How should we pray?
Over and over, we claimed Philippians 4:6-7. Each time, God gave peace.
God also gave us the following verse, “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit Itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Romans 8:26 KJV).
What a precious promise from Scripture!
That doesn't mean that there weren't many tears shed and feelings of being overwhelmed. What it did mean was that I was choosing to let go and trust God to do HIS perfect will in her life and in ours. He knew our hearts. He knew our desires. He knew how badly we wanted our baby girl to live. He knew what was best. We trusted Him.
Prayer is not a magical thing that “poof,” when we pray, we get what we want. Part of prayer is asking God and then submitting to His will, knowing that He will only do what is best for us.
You may be thinking, “How was it best for Josie to have all these heart defects and spend her short life suffering?” Or, “How was it best for you to go through losing yet another child?” You see, we had already given back to God two other children, Jesse and Toby. Our sons had a rare heart and lung disease called Pulmonary Hypertension. Jesse was with us for 13 months and Toby, two and a half years. Losing our sons forever changed our lives, but like Josie, God used them to teach us so much about trusting Him ... even when we don't understand.
I can honestly tell you that there are still times that I don't understand “why,” but I do trust that God only wants what is best for me.
Sometimes, these things that we go through are to teach us a lesson that we might not learn in any other way. We learn to trust in Him and not ourselves. We learn that sometimes God brings people to Himself through these kinds of trials. We learn to ask, “Why not me?” instead of “Why me?” When we yield our wants and desires to Him, He teaches us to trust Him; and through it all, we learn to pray.