How to pray when you don't have the words

Jordan Jones When you don't know what to pray pray this

Ever have one of those days when you just feel a heavy oppression or overwhelming sadness?

When you know you need to spend time with God but just don't have the drive or energy?

When you know that reading His word is exactly what you need, but you don't know where to start?

When you believe in the power of prayer and yet can't seem to find the words to pray?

This past week, I had one of those moments - and no matter how many days I spend in prayer, reading the Bible, and reflecting on what God is speaking into my life, I still experience those moments where I just don't know where to turn.

To God of course, yes. But what should I even read and study? How do I even voice my struggle to God? How can I even go about laying my burdens at His feet when I'm not even sure the root of them myself?

If you've ever asked these same questions, take heart - because like everything else we may struggle with, God has already spoken about this in Scripture.

When you don't know what to pray, pray this

One of the best advice I was ever given about prayer is that when I don't know the words to say myself, to turn to the Bible and pray back God's word to Him. Pray about His promises, His goodness, His grace, His love.

When I can't find the right words myself, I love turning to the Bible to pray Scripture - but how do you know where to start? Which Scripture should you read?

One tip is to check out the Bible Index in the back of your Kairos Journal for Bible verses by topic. This is a great place to find verses related to the issues you'd like to pray about!

Another thing I like to do is search my Bible app (I personally use YouVersion) for a relevant plan. This week I chose to start a plan called "Praying God's Truth Over My Fears" - it's been a really encouraging and practical way to read Scripture that speaks to exactly what I'm going through in this season.

The Holy Spirit Intercedes for Us

Whenever a Bible plan recommends a specific verse, I like to read more of the chapter surrounding it to really get a better understanding of the context.

On this particular day, the Bible plan had me reading Romans 8:28 - and since Romans 8 is one of my favorite chapters in the entire Bible, I decided to read it in its entirety.

That's when Romans 8:26-27 jumped out at me in a new way.

Don't you just love when that happens?! You can read a verse you've read many times before and the Holy Spirit just moves and speaks to you in a new, fresh way!

"And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don't know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God's own will."

Romans 8:26-27 (NLT)

This time, the bolded parts really hit home with me. When I don't have the words to say, I find peace and STRENGTH knowing that God already knows my heart and that the Holy Spirit is praying and interceding on my behalf. How incredible is that?!

Better yet: the Holy Spirit isn't just praying as we would pray (with possibly selfish motives or ambitions); He is praying in harmony with God's own will!

This isn't to say that intentional, spoken prayer isn't important. It is. 

But when we can't seem to find a way to put our groanings into Words, we can pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, knowing that He is interceding for us and praying for us according to God's will.

I can't tell you how much of an encouragement this was for me to read and meditate on. I went from not knowing how or what to pray to completing filling out the right-side of my Kairos Journal with thoughts, prayers, and reflection!

In fact, I felt a physical lifting of the oppression as I read and spoke these words out loud - declaring my belief in them to God. It was incredible and such a powerful reminder of the power of prayer and spending time in God's word.

I pray that as you read these verses you would find encouragement in your own walk with the Lord.

Have your own verse that brings you comfort in times of stress or a go-to-prayer when you don't know what to pray? We'd love to hear! Comment below with your favorite verses or encouragement.


Jul 27, 2021 • Posted by Eric B

Carolyn, I’m praying for you. May you sense God’s strength today.

Jul 21, 2021 • Posted by Craig Ruhl

Thank you for this post. Romans 8:26-27 is also one of my go-to verses. I agree there is much benefit in learning the “rest of the story” when reading a specific verse or verses. Context helps my understanding and appreciation of God’s Word. Thank you, Kairos Team, for all you do.

Jul 21, 2021 • Posted by John Y

“He will come to us like the rain,
like the spring rains that water the earth.” Hosea 6:3

I love when it rains gently. I like sitting out of my screened in deck, listening to the rain fall on the roof and watching God nourish the earth. Realizing that God comes to me the same way; gently, softly; refreshing me, washing me clean; brings me peace.

Jul 21, 2021 • Posted by CAROLYN L Warr

Please Pray for me to stand. Im at the End of my rope. Everyday another Battle it never stops. Where is my Breakthrough?

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