When I Don’t Know What to Pray

I wish I could say with confidence that I always know how to face a situation head-on, that I never struggle to find the right words to speak relief into the heart of a fellow-sojourner. I wish I knew how to pray effectively without pause, without questioning what should be, could be, might be the will of God for each person in every circumstance. But the truth is, more often than not, my prayers are tongue-tied. Awkward. Raw. Filled with real frustrations, confusion, and sometimes sadness.

But there is always one thing I find to be a constant when I struggle for filling the silence with words:

When I don’t know what to pray, I pray for His presence.

I pray for the spirit of Shalom to come alongside and flow into the depths of souls, regardless of difficulties. I ask for a peace that never falters in the face of flagging faith to make its entrance and stay for the duration.

When our world is shaking, it is in His presence we are held. Strengthened. Changed. Even if our circumstances are not.

No longer do I ask merely for relief from the existing troubles nor for the absence of strife. Instead, I pray for His presence to come and overshadow Satan’s worst with the light of God’s best. For mercy to show up and shatter the darkest of hours with the brilliance of love unconditional and limitless.

As His presence descends, it ushers in the sweet melody of peace, gentle yet firm in its determination to rise above the enemy’s shrieking fortes. The gift of promised Shalom, come with power. Reaching past the furthest bounds of all human understanding. Soothing the weary soul. Bringing its companion of Hope to nestle deep into the broken, spilling its contents upon hurting hearts.

Shalom — completeness, soundness, welfare, peace.

A real, felt peace that burrows through bitterness. Chips away resentment. Stirs a love that knows no limits. Brings wholeness to the fragmented. Bestows favor upon the floundering. Revives the most dimly burning ray of faith. Fanning. Kindling. Reminding once more of Father’s keeping power.

Of presence and peace come again and still to all who look for its comfort.

I ask for His presence because we were made for it.

It’s His presence we long for in the worst and the best of times. It’s where we belong. And it is where we find rest even when our circumstances remain exhausting. It’s where we encounter Shalom, not as the world gives but as He gives to His own. It’s where peace transforms a soul in the making.

Surrendered to our chrysalis, like a morphing butterfly is hidden and changed, we cling to His presence. Trusting in the silence. Holding fast to hope through the darkness. Looking for a future held safely in Father’s care, even without fully knowing what it will be like to live it.

Even before the knowledge of wings and flight and freedom to soar.

So today I pray for His presence to come and meet us right where we are, and I ask for hearts to be open. Yours and mine. Yielded to the turning of Shalom’s hand. Stepping forward into faith, knowing Father will not fail, even if all others abandon.

Trusting His presence will breathe and set to flight the most fragile of wings.

Believing Yahweh is here and will remain.

And that in His presence, we will soar.

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