You know that moment when you let yourself grow quiet enough to feel that tug inside of you, that longing to communicate with God. But then, what to say? Sometimes I find myself struggling for the right words.
Certainly in prayer there is time for silence, for resting, for listening. I have found these times to be incredibly nurturing. When I push all the words aside and replace them with being. To just be with God is a beautiful thing. This is where I am reminded that my worthiness is not based on my ability to perform, to produce, or to say the right thing. When I can rest and still know the love that surrounds me and pursues me, then I am truly free.
However, there are times when my soul wants nourishment, like bread in the hands of the hungry, water in the mouth of the thirsty. Sometimes I need words to give me life, to give me direction and a focus. But sometimes I just don’t have the words. Maybe I am weighed down with worrying, or feeling scattered. Maybe I just don’t know what God wants from me, and I want to realign my heart with truth.
I think many of us have had those moments where we feel like we’re just complaining to God, or asking for things, or maybe just doubting prayer altogether. What then? Do we just throw prayer out the window until we feel differently?
I’ve been there. I’ve lived through the season of not really knowing how or what to pray, so I just didn’t. And then one day I opened to the Psalms again, and realized — here were rich, honest prayers expressing the doubts, the longings, the worship, the words that had been trapped inside of me. Reading the Psalms was like pulling the cork out of a bottle of champagne. Finally I was talking to God again.
This is how I began to discover the beauty of saying prayers.
Saying prayers that are rooted in truth and have stood the test of time help me to grow beyond my self-centredness and take part in something bigger than myself. Prayer becomes more than just a way to express myself, it becomes a way to be properly formed in Christ. In his book Water to Wine, pastor and author Brian Zahnd writes, “When it comes to spiritual formation, we are what we pray. Without wise input that comes from outside ourselves, we will never change.”
So I began to search for prayers written by others that expressed truths that I wanted to embody. Here are some of the prayers that have been my favourites over the past year, the ones I turn to for wisdom, guidance, and reassurance. As I say the words I believe they are making space in my heart for God to do the beautiful transforming work only he can do.
Do you have favourite prayers that you have kept close to your heart during different seasons of your life? Share them in the comments below, I’d love to hear:)