“As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God.” - Psalm 42:1
For the next several weeks, I am writing about different ways to pray. I hope you will be inspired to connect with God in new ways! This week, I want to talk about how to pray when we don’t have words for prayer. Sometimes in life we lose all our words for prayer. That can happen during times of grief, illness, or doubt. It can also just be our normal—some of us always struggle to find words for prayer. When we find that we don’t have words for prayer, we can use a prayer book to help us.
I remember during a time of intense grief, my prayer book was a lifeline for me. I remember feeling angry at God, and reluctant to pray. But, at the same time I knew that connecting with God through prayer was the only path toward healing. The prayer book made it possible to pray using someone else’s words. In addition to giving me words to connect with God, it gave me ideas to reflect on throughout the day. It also gave me a rhythm to my prayers by creating a predictable pattern that was comforting. The predictability of the prayers offset the chaos of my grief. While I began using the prayer book reluctantly, I ended up looking forward to my time of prayer everyday. I looked forward to the comforting rhythm of prayer and I savored the connection with God through those prayers. Over time, God used the words of the prayer book to bless my broken heart with healing.
If you are having trouble finding words for prayer, for whatever reason, I recommend trying a prayer book. Some have instructions for how to use them, others you simply us everyday. Here are some prayer books that have been meaningful to me at different times in my life:
The Divine Hours: Pocket Edition, by Phyllis Tickle.
Psalms for Praying: An Invitation to Wholeness, by Nan C. Merrill
Daily Prayer with the Corrymeela Community, by Padraig O Tuama
If you would like to try a prayer book, but aren’t sure where to start or how to find one, feel free to be in touch with me and I can help you. :-) May God bless the time you spend in prayer. Grace and peace,