I am the daughter of a pastor. I grew up considering our church a second home. My siblings and I were ushered into the church doors just about every time they were open and even when they weren’t.
I attended all the camps and conventions. I went to youth group and Sunday School. I graduated from a Christian university where I majored in Christian ministries. I married a pastor.
And I don’t know how to pray.
I used to, but then my mom died.
Oh, how I prayed for her to win her battle with cancer. I prayed with an angst and fury I had never known . . . for a miracle that never came.
And after she died, these lies from the enemy quickly surfaced:
You’re not good enough.
You didn’t pray hard enough.
Maybe you’re just not good at it.
After my mom left this life, I wrestled with my faith, and I still do at times.
In my rawest moments, I would retreat to find comfort in my Jesus and all I could muster were wordless groans between sobs.
I kept feeling a prompting in my spirit that my God knows a little bit about wordless groans, and before long, I was reading this Scripture:
“Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God” (Romans 8:26-28, The Message).
In the months to follow, I found myself revisiting this passage. It was so comforting to know that God didn’t expect anything from me other than all I had to offer. Even if that meant that all I could muster to Heaven were wordless groans and sighs, He heard me.
He heard me when my spirit was folding in on itself and all I could do was whisper, “Help me, Jesus.”
And even though I’ve been traveling this grief journey for a couple of years now, I still find myself coming before my Lord this way. In the safe haven of His presence, I cry out to Him like an infant, and he recognizes my need without me saying a word.
More often than not, this is how I pray . . . and I’m learning that it’s OK.
I think many times we feel like prayer has to be full of eloquent speech. When all God asks for is all we can give—something intimate, something heartfelt.
How comforting to know that He sees us and accepts us just as we are, without any frills, among the messy work of healing.
Quite honestly, I believe He prefers it.
Originally published on the author’s blog