Don’t Know What To Say
I’m sitting in my office, my first day back after Christmas, tasked with getting my article in to Sylvia so she can put the newsletter together, and I find myself staring at a blank white monitor without any idea of what to type. I could write about New Year’s, but I worry it will just come across as trite. I used all my Christmas-y ideas for the sermons over the weekend, and any new ideas on that front will have to be saved for Sunday’s sermon. I’m stuck with the unenviable condition of writer’s block. I want to write, I know I need to write, but I have no idea what I’m supposed to say.
Prayer can be like that sometimes. We know we’re supposed to pray, we have commands from the Scriptures to “Pray without ceasing,” and many of us grew up with the common devotional practice of bedtime prayers. But sooner or later, “prayer’s block” rears its ugly head. You want to pray, you know you need to pray, but you have no idea what you’re supposed to pray. So what do you do? One option is to fall back on the liturgy – the words you repeat every Sunday tend to make for good prayers. Are you feeling guilty? Pray the confession. Do you want to praise God? Pray the Gloria. If you want an even more Scriptural approach, there’s always the option of opening to the Psalms and praying one or more of those – which can also help build up your “prayer vocabulary” in the process.
But what do you do if those aren’t the right words, or if you want to use your own words – they just won’t come? Well, God understands that feeling as well. So He tells us through His servant Paul “For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” Our Lord is more forgiving than the blank page. While Sylvia would undoubtedly be upset with me if I sent her a blank word document, the Holy Spirit recognizes that sometimes we just can’t articulate what needs to be said. So when whatever highs and lows of the new year rear their ugly head, and you just can’t think of how to express what needs to be said to God, take comfort in the fact that you can just take the time to express to Him that you don’t even know how to say it, and trust that He’ll take it from there.