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Praying when we don’t have the words

Date Monday, 24th June 2024

Preached by Linda Allcock

I know the Lord’s prayer. Really well. I’ve taught it, recited it, written articles about it and even sung it. So studying it in Focus felt like treading a well-worn path.

And then our Focus Group received devastating news, and suddenly the Lord’s Prayer which we had been studying became precious to me in a way it never had before:

  1. It gave me words to pray when I had no words.
  1. As my confused and distracted brain tried to pray, the Lord Jesus’ words focussed my mind: your Father is good, He is in heaven so He’s powerful, He’s our Father so you are not alone.
  1. Hallowed be your name lifted my eyes from what seemed a desperate and hopeless situation to the One enthroned above who is able and willing to help.
  1. I suddenly longed for God’s kingdom to come, and His will be done like never before, as the pain and brokenness of this fallen world became horribly real.
  1. It is so wise to pray “give us today our daily bread”, when I cannot bear to think about tomorrow. Lord give me what I need for the next few minutes, when I can’t even do today.
  1. Forgive me for all my regrets, the ways I’ve failed you and others. And help me to be forgiving as I am under pressure and so more irritable than usual.  
  1. Someone in our group helpfully pointed out that translations vary on whether we pray “lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil”, or “the evil one”, because in the Greek it is just ‘the evil.’ I get it – the evil seems very present right now, Lord please protect me and all those involved. Thank you that you are more powerful than the evil. Thank you that the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours. The evil will not triumph even in the darkest of days.

We will all go through times of turmoil, when we have no words, when we cannot concentrate, where we’ve lost sight of which way is up. Let the Spirit take these words that your heart knows so well, and speak them out. Into your pillow in the long dark night when sleep eludes you. As you walk or cycle, use that time to walk with the Lord in prayer. At the side of a hospital bed, allow the Spirit to lift your eyes to the One who is powerful using the words he gave us. When you write a card but have no comforting thought to put in it. In the prayer meeting where you cannot find the right words to say.

Thank you Jesus for giving us words when we have no words.