I must admit it borders on a miracle that you’re reading this at all.
One of the everlasting challenges I face as a writer is getting any words out. My mind teems with incomplete thoughts and bubbles over with sentiments all day. But turning those into materialized words can be a challenge.
I dread to discover how much time I have spent staring at a digital white canvas, watching a cursor blink as if it were tapping its foot in impatience at me. Of course, writing this piece was no different. But I suppose this paragraph can serve as the introduction I was looking for.
Whether writers or not, Christians often experience a similar blank state in prayer. Replace the blinking cursor with the faint ticking of a clock in the room, the seconds cranked out with machine-like ease. There you sit, clammed up with a ball of knotted emotions, bowed before “the God feared above all gods” (Ps. 96:4).
NOT PRAYING AS WE OUGHT
Paul knows this experience is normal, for he writes, “We do not know what to pray for as we ought” (Rom. 8:26). He doesn’t excuse prayerlessness (hence, “as we ought”) but he does acknowledge the reality we face. There are several reasons we may go mute before the Lord, whether shame, confusion, discouragement, skepticism, lament, complacency, fear, anger, distress, or weakness. The list goes on.
Prayerlessness feels like wanting to cry while the tears somehow fail to flow; we want to cry out to God, yet the words escape us.
In many moments of life, prayer seems to be all we have, as if our very lives depend on one. The prospect, then, of not being able to muster up the words to fill in the blank space can plunge us into despair. Sometimes we draw near to the throne of grace lacking confidence (Heb. 4:16).
So, now what?