So, last week I began a short series of blogs detailing my spiritual journey over a 6 month period of recovery following an operation (Be Still Child). I spoke about how, during this season of forced inactivity, God showed me the value of being still, knowing that He is our refuge and strength in times of trouble (Psalm 46:10).
This week I want to talk about the difficulty I had praying during the early parts of my recovery; how the words just wouldn’t come. I want to spend time on this area to help those who have, are, or will go through the same thing, especially as there can be a sense of guilt and inadequacy when we are unable to pray for whatever reason. But there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1), while we all fall short
(Romans 3: 23) our ‘inadequate’ selves house the light of Christ; a treasure in jars of clay to show that this surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. (2 Corinthians 4: 7). And, do you know? Even Paul struggled with something he felt held him back from his Godly work, yet God said to Him, as he says to us, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
I have no idea why I was unable to pray over those few months of recovery. It felt like the surgeon had somehow removed my ability to pray as well as a part of my intestines; as if my prayer life was an organ that had been extracted and all that was left was a gaping hole. When I tried to pray, there was a blankness; a chasm that I couldn’t fill with words. I felt empty.
The only thing I could do, as I tried to lift my heart to God in the darkness of each night, was call out His name: “God!”. Like the last strangled cry of desperation: “God!”. A word squeezed out through the tightest of spaces: “God!”. No other words would come; no words of praise, of thanks, of appeal or request. Just, “God!”. In that one, singular word, I was reaching out; trying to connect through the darkness; trying to grasp hold of something solid in the void. At the time, that void felt cavernous and vacant and my cries seemed to disappear into the unknown.
But I know now that they reached God’s ears (Psalm 18: 6). I can look back and see that He was actually sitting with me in the darkness (Psalm 23:4). Because I was so poorly, all I could do was be still and so, God joined me in the stillness. My cry simply acknowledged His presence; He is near to all who call on Him (Psalm 145: 18).
And whether that call is mournful wail, a desperate sigh or simply the name of God, the Holy Spirit will intercede for us in our weakness, speaking all the words that need to be said according to God’s will (Romans 8: 26-27); a perfect prayer when we have none.
For those struggling to pray and wrestling to find the right words, know that God sees your intention; your desire to connect and commune with Him. He knows your heart. Keep going, and like me, you will find the words form more easily as you come out of your season of struggle for all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8: 28) Next week: Trying to Connect with God when You Can’t Feel Him.