I grew up in a church where the choir sang a version of the Lord’s Prayer every Sunday. The prelude to the Lord’s prayer started with a portion of Psalm 19. The song went like this:
Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in thy sight. Wilt thou teach me how to serve thee? Wilt thou teach me how to pray?” And then the familiar words of Matther 6:9-14.
I’m pondering that song now, because I’m having trouble to figure out how to pray. I generally us the ACTS model (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication) when praying publicly, but I get stuck on the supplication part. I think about praying for justice, but then I realize that our current system is inherently unjust. Should I pray for an upheaval of the system? That seems chaotic and God wants things done decently and in order.
I have no problem praying for the sick and shut-in. I pray for safety and well-being for myself and my loved ones. I ask for help in my daily duties. But when it comes to the big things, I’m not sure what to do. My teaching tells me to pray that God’s will be done…but I have to be honest. If our current situation is God’s will, I’m not sure I want more of that.
So what do you do when you don’t know what to pray for? I think of Romans 8:26-27 and am grateful that the Lord understands what I need even when I fail to find the words. I think of Matthew 6:8, that the Father knows what I need before I ask. I do not want diminish the feelings of confusion I have felt as 2020 winds to a close. There are many times when I simply cannot find the words. On those occasions, I simply cry out “Lord, help.” And thank goodness, He does.
If you are struggling in your prayer life right now, please know that you are not alone. There are a billion and one prayer journals and prompts out there for sale. And even if none of those work, if you can utter just those two words, “Lord, help!” I believe you will get a response.