Ahhh…summer and cousin sleepovers; remember? The other night I was tucking my son and nephew into bed with the intention of praying with them. Now admittedly, during the school year, this praying together with my kids tends to be rushed, and regretfully, even a forgotten thing. But this summer night we had time, and so we prayed . . . well, I prayed, and then my nephew prayed (quite eloquently for a 12-year-old, I was thinking) and then . . . silence. Waiting for what I thought was a reasonable amount of time, I peeked out at my son wondering what might be causing the delay, only to find him quietly shaking with tears running down his face. My heart broke and as I was hugging him, I asked him “what’s wrong?” It took a while to get it out, but finally I heard him sob, “I don’t have anything to say!”
All of us have different experiences with prayer. Some maybe new to the faith, from different traditions, are not practiced or comfortable speaking prayers aloud, or are used to having others pray for or with them. Perhaps we like to read prayers from a script. Others have grown up praying out loud with their families, friends and church, and usually the words simply flow out of us quite naturally. But how often do we have trouble coming up with something–anything–to say to our Lord?
Thinking back later that night and the following day about my son’s words, I realized God was reminding me that first of all, we don’t need to speak out loud the things on our heart. He already knows. Second, even when we don’t know how to express what’s in our hearts, that’s okay, too, because God’s word tells us his Holy Spirit is in us, interceding or interpreting what we can’t possibly express (Romans 8:26). But the biggest nudge for me was how often do I pause and consider who it is I am actually addressing. So at times, instead of going on and on about all my concerns, others’ heartaches, and the questions and the pain of this world’s brokenness, I want to remember to just cover my mouth and weep, because really, like Job after God had spoken, I have nothing to say.
Suggested Bible Reading:
Proverbs 10:19 When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.
Andrew Peterson – Nothing to Say https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2c3QsoAnVg4
And when you do speak, here is a good thing to say:
Andrew Peterson – The Good Confession https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jjyNgp39Ng
Contributed by Heather Armour