Dear God, I Don’t Know What To Say
By Maddie Bowser
How often do we look at prayer for what it is?
Think about it. You and I are humans: small, powerless, and limited. Often, we can’t find the right words to ask a question in front of the whole class or utter an apology to our moms. What about when we have to have a rough conversation with a friend, or congratulate a classmate when they get what we wanted? And don’t even get me started on *gasp* public speaking!
And yet, despite all of that, God tells us to “pray continually” to Him, babbling lips and all! Sometimes I can hardly comprehend how the Almighty God, the One who created the universe and breathed life into it, allows us to talk to Him and listens to what we say.
It’s no wonder that sometimes it’s hard to know what to say. Though there are rare days that the words flow easily, most days I look to the sky and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. God knows me completely, what can I say to surprise Him? He sees my future, how can I tell Him my plans? He paid the ultimate price, how can I complain about the mundane? And when I fail to praise Him for the good, how can I bear to place my sins at His feet?
When I survey Him in all His glory, how can I mutter a single word?
And yet God tells us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). He commands us to not only pray when it’s easy, but when it’s the last thing we want to do. To pray when we win and when we lose. Pray when we grow and when we wither. When we sing and when we cry. He wants us to pray all the time.
If you’re miniscule human brain works like mine, I know we’re both thinking the same thing right about now.
How am I supposed to do that?
God answers that question in several different ways throughout the Bible. I like to think that if we were to record a conversation with God about prayer, it would go something like this:
God: Talk to me, daughter! I love you. I want to hear about every moment of every day.
Me: Ok…. what should we talk about?
God: Everything! I want you to tell me everything that is on your heart and mind!
Me: Really? The kids in my class seemed to get annoyed when I talk too much. Are you sure you want me to tell you whatever I think?
God: Yes! That is exactly what I want!
Me: So, when I have a really good day, you want to hear that?
God: Absolutely! I want you to rejoice with me and include me in your celebrations.
Me: And when I’m scared, you want to hear about that?
God: I want you to tell me whenever you’re scared, and I will give you peace.
Me: But what about those times I don’t have anything very interesting to say? What if I’m just sitting in the park or eating dinner? What should we talk about then?
God: I love you so much, I want to be a part of those moments too.
Me: But what about… those times that bad stuff happens? And I don’t really want to talk to you? Because there have been times that I can’t figure out what to say to you. How can I pray then?
God: In those times, daughter, you can simply sit wherever you are and know that I am God. Let me do all of the work. I know that your life is hard, and that sometimes you don’t understand my ways. That’s ok. Let me be God, and let me hold you when you have can’t talk.
“What about those times that I don’t know what to say to you?” It can be easy to pray when we are happy or excited, or even just sitting around watching TV or shooting hoops. But for most of us, our prayer life loses momentum when we go through hard times and we realize we don’t really want to talk to God.
Would it surprise you that it is in those times that God assures us that He will do all of the talking?
Psalm 46:10 commands all people to “be still and know that Above all else, God desires our trust and humility. And in the moments when our tongues stick to the roofs of our mouths, He doesn’t command us to speak. He asks us to listen. “Dear God, I don’t know what to say…” “Then simply be with me, daughter. Don’t say anything at all.”
Above all else, God desires our trust and humility. And in the moments when our tongues stick to the roofs of our mouths, He doesn’t command us to speak.
He asks us to listen.
“Dear God, I don’t know what to say…”
“Then simply be with me, daughter. Don’t say anything at all.”