When we don’t know how to pray

October 16, 2023

‘Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.’- Romans 8:26

It is possible today that you find yourself not knowing how to pray.

Not knowing what to do to help God’s kingdom come.

This guide has been created to try to help you. We hope this guide will help you find the words to talk to God, as one friend speaks to another about this desperate situation arising in the world.

Take a moment to set the scene of what it is we are praying for…

Notice how you are reacting in this moment as you reflect on recent events…

Perhaps one thing from the news stands out to you…

Whatever arises, know that God holds you in this moment in love…

Have you been able to speak to Jesus about how you feel and what you've been thinking or are you too confused to do so?

If there is confusion for you, you might find it helpful to identify one emotion surfacing for you above the rest.

Perhaps anger…or sadness… despair… confusion…or desperation…

How would you like to offer this to God?

Can any of these emotions help you to reaffirm a hope and a call for justice, peace, and equality for all people?

As followers of Jesus, how might we be being asked to respond to what is happening?

We can stand shoulder to shoulder with all suffering peoples. Take a moment to pray for all those who are suffering today, from every walk of life…

We might recall Jesus’ challenging words: “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, pray for those who persecute you”. With those words, how might you be stirred to do this today. You might like to ask God to change hearts and guide tongues so that the words that are used are to build up and not tear down.

Paul proclaimed in his Letter to the Romans, “I am certain of this: neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers nor height nor depth nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord”. – Romans 8:38.

How does this encourage you today?

Speak

Lord Jesus, you said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit”, we beg you to watch over, guide, guard and protect all women and men and children. Blessed are the poor in spirit.

Lord Jesus, who said “Blessed are the peacemakers”, we ask you, turn the hearts towards deeds of peace. We ask to be ourselves instruments of peace. Blessed are the peacemakers.

Lord Jesus, you said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness”, inspire and strengthen the men and women who work to bring about peace and reconciliation. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.

Lord Jesus, you said, “Blessed are the merciful”, we thank you for the many good people who continue to seek ways of reconciliation and show mercy to others. Blessed are the merciful.

You might like to pause now and in silence pray for those most in need at this time.  

Placing all these prayers on a firm foundation, you might like to say the Lord’s Prayer:

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

We end by remembering Jesus’ words: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.

Lord Jesus Christ, who is called the Prince of Peace, you yourself are our peace and reconciliation, who so often said, “Peace to you,” grant us peace. Make all men and women witnesses of truth, justice, and brotherly and sisterly love. Banish from their hearts whatever might endanger peace. Enlighten our rulers that they may guarantee and defend the great gift of peace.

May all peoples of the earth become as brothers and sisters. May longed-for peace blossom forth and reign always over us all.

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