Have you ever played Wheel of Fortune, Pictionary or one of those other games where you’re trying to guess a word that’s being described? Yes, there are hints and clues. But sometimes what seems so obvious to one person just doesn’t make sense to someone else.
We get frustrated with our mental blocks when we can’t find the right word to say. But it’s no wonder considering how many words are actually stored in our brains. Researchers believe that the average person knows 60,000 different words (including proper names) which are all memorized as vocabulary.
We really do have a lot on our mind!
It’s one thing to be lost for a particular word when you’re competing for bragging rights in a game. But sometimes we’re desperately seeking the right words, or any words, when we’re trying to communicate with someone. Including God.
There’s something extremely important we have to tell someone, but we don’t know how to start. Or end. So we procrastinate and avoid the conversation.
Our friend is reeling from the grief of their loss and we have no idea how to comfort them. Instead of reaching out to them in their time of need, we back away. We’re afraid of saying something wrong or not having anything to say at all.
We’re suffocating in our own desperation, barely hanging on. No words can express our raw emotions. No words can overcome our sobs. We lay on our bed in a puddle of tears. Exhausted.
We’re lost for the words to say and pray.
It’s in these times that we need to remember truth. We don’t always know what to say or pray, but God searches our hearts and knows our thoughts. He understands the situation intimately. He wants us to come to Him and seek protection in His presence. And the Holy Spirit, who dwells within us, will help us in our time of weakness. We may not have words to speak, but the Spirit knows what we need. He also knows God’s heart. He prays on our behalf. He intercedes for us before Almighty God. He prays to our Heavenly Father through our sobs, groans, and blank thoughts that are devoid of words.
The prayers of the Holy Spirit are powerful because they are based on the will of God.
If words are escaping us, we can merely say, “Lord, I don’t know what to pray. I don’t know what to do. But You do. Holy Spirit, please intercede for me before God. Please give me the words to say.”
We don’t need an elaborate prayer with lots of words. There’s no right or wrong thing to pray. God wants us to be honest with Him. He would rather that we come to Him without knowing what to say than to stay away out of fear or anger. Sit with God. And if you don’t know what to say, let Him pray. Or if you’ve been holding back, unleash your emotions and tell Him what you really think. Just don’t avoid Him.
And don’t avoid other people when you don’t know what to say.
One of the greatest gifts we can give our friend is to sit with them when they’re hurting. Just like God, it isn’t our words or a special trinket that they want. It isn’t a present that will show them our genuine love and compassion. It’s our presence. It’s our willingness to hold them in silence and let them cry. They need to know there is someone praying for them.
We need to know there is someone praying for us. And there always is.
“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 with groans that words cannot express.” Romans 8:26
May I pray?
Lord, thank you for the gift of Your Holy Spirit that dwells within us so that we’re never alone. Thank you for Your desire that we come to You, even if we don’t know what to pray. Father, I lift up those who are struggling today with finding the right words to say to You or someone else. Holy Spirit, please fill them with Your peace. Please intercede for them before Almighty God. Give them Your words. And Lord, please help us all to have the courage to comfort others through the gift of our presence, even if we’re unsure of what to say. Amen.
Q4U: How have you been able to comfort someone even when you couldn’t understand exactly where they were or what you should say?