One day last fall, I was feeling completely spent. In the mornings, I was teaching second grade; the afternoons were spent working in the kitchen of a small restaurant. In both positions, I was constantly feeling overwhelmed and incompetent. On top of that, my living situation had been turned upside down and I was sharing a small two-bedroom apartment with two other people (you do the math). Everything seemed out of control. I was at the mercy of my circumstances. My patience with people was wearing thin. And yet I knew that I was supposed to show love in all of these places – work, home, church – but I couldn’t!
Then, I came to the point where I couldn’t pray. I was driving to school one morning and realized that I didn’t have any words. All of the pieces that were so important to me were so far beyond my control that I didn’t even know how to pray about them anymore! So, I just started saying God…God…God…
And that’s when I realized what this passage is trying to teach us.
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. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. Romans 8:26-27
We don’t have to know what we’re saying or trying to accomplish every time we pray. Prayer is about spending time with God!
Some of my best times with friends have been spent in complete silence…riding in a car staring out windows, sharing markers while we work on adult coloring books, chopping vegetables. And other times I’ve spent hours with friends and we’ve taken turns “word vomiting”…enjoying one another’s company, just the same.
Prayer is just a time for you to seek and experience God.
Maybe you take time to offer praise…Blessed are those who dwell in your house forever; they are ever praising you. (Psalm 84:4)
Or you ask Him for strength…Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage (Psalm 84:5)
Do you need direction? O God, do not keep silent; be not quiet, O God, not be not still. (Psalm 83:1)
You’re telling Him just how much you need him…My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. (Psalm 84:2)
Whatever prayers looks like for you right now, celebrate that. And then consider how you can use prayer to grow and work through those moments when everything just seems to be too much.