My heart is heavy. How do I pray?
I’ve been asking the Lord to teach me how to pray. I pray a lot, but my prayers feel minuscule compared to the needs in the lives of those on my heart. We have a big God who is able to do more than we ask or imagine, but how do I know when I’ve done my job of asking well?
Prayer after losing a child or a different crushing “No” from God often feels contentious, full of sighs and groans beyond what words can express. I often don’t know how to pray as I ought, but I know I am not alone in my groaning. The “Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans too deep for words” (Romans 8:26).
A year or so ago, I was seeking the Lord for how to pray for a friend going through cancer treatments. Reading this verse freed me to pray as I really wanted to pray:
“Remember those in prison as if you were bound with them, and those who are mistreated as if you were suffering with them.”Hebrews 13:3
Earlier this week, while meditating on these verses:
“Because Jesus lives forever, He has a permanent priesthood. Therefore He is able to save completely those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to intercede for them.”Hebrews 7:24-25
I asked myself, “How do I live and pray as though Jesus ‘always lives to intercede’ on our behalf?”
I want to come to God boldly, yet clothed heavily with humility; in a wisdom that is not my own, but the Spirit’s; with my whole heart, yet wholly surrendered to His will; with dedication, perseverance and a heart of obedience.
Joining in the Prayers of the Saints
I’ve been meditating on how we are connected to the body of Christ… not just our local church body, but to those who have longed for Jesus’ appearing through the centuries. I’ve also be thinking about how Jesus, His disciples and millions of believers throughout history have used the Psalms as a prayer and hymn book. I thought about how Jesus must have felt praying Psalm 22 in His darkest hour and how it must have comforted Him to have the prayers of the saints joining His.
It’s incredible to realize that I hold within my hands the very words and prayers that God has given His people to pray, the prayers and songs that people from many nations have prayed and continue to pray in many languages. I want to join in that fellowship. I want to pray in communion with Jesus and all the saints in Heaven and on earth. In my minds’ eye I can almost see a chorus of prayers resonating up to the throne room. I want to take part in that fragrant offering (Psalm 141:2, Revelation 8:4).
Learning to Pray the Psalms
While praying the Psalms is not completely new to me, I have a lot to learn. I enjoy praying, singing and meditating on my morning walks and decided to look for a podcast on praying the Psalms to help slowly guide me through them. I found two that I am enjoying so far.
To help me learn each Psalm well, first I have a Bible app read it aloud to me several times through (sometimes in more than one version). Then I listen to the podcast produced by Doxa Church in Madison, Washington in 2020 called Praying the Psalms where a minister shares commentary on a Psalm followed by a prayer. Finally, I listen, pray and sing along with the Psalms Project’s podcast where they read a Psalm and play a song based on verses from it. I’ve added several of their songs to my personal play list. You may learn more about their effort to produce a song for every Psalm here: https://thepsalmsproject.com/
Two talks on prayer that really touched me this week:
Questions to consider:
Do your prayers feel minuscule?
Have you asked Jesus to teach you how to pray?
Have you surrendered your inability to pray to Holy Spirit’s groanings?
How does it make you feel to know that Jesus “always lives to intercede” for you?
Would joining your prayers with the chorus of the prayers and songs of the saints make a difference in your prayer life?
Has a podcast or a study on the Psalms impacted your prayers?
Please, share 💕
In His Love,