Devotions from Judy’s heart
Perhaps we have all had times in our lives when we had no words to pray. Maybe we were going through a time of grief and so overwhelmed that words escaped us. I read Tish Harrison-Warren’s book, Prayer in the Night and she shares how the written prayers of the church can be a comfort at such times. She is an Anglican priest and experienced the darkness of night in the grief of her father’s death followed by her miscarriage of a son. When she was bleeding profusely and fighting for her life in the ER, she couldn’t find words to pray. She told her husband that she wanted to pray Compline, which is an ancient nighttime prayer service of the church. “Keep us as the apple of your eye. Hide us under the shadow of your wing. Lord have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord have mercy. Defend us, Lord, from the perils and dangers of this night.” It helped her to hang on to the reality of God’s goodness and love even in the midst of her sorrow and dark night of her soul. Compline contains confession, the reading of Psalms and other scriptures, written prayers, and a time for silence and free form prayers. God can use so many ways to help us when we are unable to even put our thoughts and emotions into words. At such times when I have needed faith for something big, I have even quoted the catechism that I memorized when young. “I believe I cannot by my own understanding or effort believe in Jesus Christ my Lord, or come to Him. But the Holy Spirit has called me through the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, and sanctified and kept me in true faith.” Other times a song might come to our minds or a familiar hymn; or we might pray the Lord’s prayer with special emphasis on an area of our present need. When we are lonely and need strength and don’t know how to put it in words, sometimes the written prayers of others can just be what we need.  But even when we don’t have words at all, the Lord knows our thoughts and draws us close to Him. Sometimes we might just want to sit in His presence out in nature and ask Him to just read our hearts and give us what we need. As I read this morning from Psalm 139:1-3 (ESV) David prayed, “O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways.”
Challenge for today: Read Psalm 139 prayerfully
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy