When there are no words to pray

There are times in life when you feel too sad or too tired to pray.

This is a good thing.

Well, let me explain. It certainly doesn’t feel good to be in those times of life. I’m there right now and it’s hard! But when you’re in a space in which there is nothing in you to come up with formal words or energy for the latest prayer practice, you’re completely empty and open to the Holy Spirit doing all the work. There are no nagging thoughts about how you ‘should’ be praying, no voices in your head asking ‘am I doing this right?!’, and no shameful feelings wondering ‘am I holy enough?’ to distract you from being alone and authentic with God. You’re forced to allow God’s presence to be your prayer and to surrender to that being enough.

During stressful times, you may have feelings of helplessness or confusion. In these times, it helps to allow your awareness that God is present to be enough of a prayer. I saw this quote recently and I love it.

The kind of spirituality and prayer many of us have been used to is concerned with making things happen, asking God to do things for us, trying to do things for God. Our prayer of stillness is all about being with God without any agenda. It is about just being there. We no longer have to see our spiritual life as a kind of battleground where we exert ourselves to combat our faults, or to attain the good qualities we associate with living the gospel. Nor do we have to strive to come closer to God. Our starting point is in resting, in finding the place of rest within. And from this place of rest we watch what God is doing for us now and has done in the past.
— Benignus O'Rourke OSA

A prayer of stillness is not a passive act. You are intentionally making the effort to be within the presence of God. The intention is what makes prayer, prayer, according to Joyce Rupp, author of several books on prayer.

Having a conscious intention to be at prayer is vital if we are to come home to that inner place of unity and peace to which God invites us. Intention means that right here, right now, before beginning to pray, we deliberately set as our purpose that of being in relationship with God. Intention implies a conscious choice of remembering this beloved presence. We intentionally move our awareness toward our deepest center, even if our wandering mind and listless heart challenge our desire to do so.
— Joyce Rupp, Prayer

When you make the intention to ‘Be Still and Know’, you will begin to hear the voice of God ever so slowly and ever so gently. In the silence of your heart, you'll be reminded Christ's light will always shine through the darkness. Most importantly you'll slowly hear how to share that light.

I'd love to hear about your prayers of stillness.

What do you do when you have no words to pray?

Or let me know if anything in this reflection resonated with you.


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