How to Pray When You Don’t Know What to Say
We’ve all been there. You’re in the middle of a prayer and you just blank. You have no idea what to say next. Maybe you’re feeling overwhelmed, maybe you’re feeling depressed, or maybe you’re just plain old stuck. Whatever the reason, there are times when it feels like the words just won’t come.
When that happens, it’s important to remember that prayer is not about saying the right words. Prayer is about having a conversation with God. It’s about opening up your heart and mind and pouring out your thoughts and feelings, even if those thoughts and feelings are jumbled and confused.
What do I do when I don’t know what to say?
First and foremost, don’t panic. Just because you don’t know what to say doesn’t mean that God doesn’t know what to say. In fact, sometimes the best thing you can do is simply be quiet and listen. Listen for God’s voice in the silence. Listen for the still small voice that is always speaking, even when we can’t hear it.
If you find it difficult to be still and listen, try focusing on your breath. Breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose, counting to four as you inhale. Hold your breath for a count of four, then exhale slowly through your mouth for a count of four. Repeat this four times. As you focus on your breath, let go of all other thoughts and allow yourself to simply be in the moment, present with God.
Another helpful tip is to focus on a particular word or phrase from Scripture. For example, if you’re struggling with anxiety, you might focus on the phrase “do not be anxious about anything” from Philippians 4:6-7. Or if you’re feeling overwhelmed, you might focus on the word “rest” from Matthew 11:28-30. Pick a word or phrase that resonates with what you’re feeling and repeat it over and over again in your mind as you pray.
Quick Tips When You Don’t Know What to Say to God
Tip #1: Talk to God like He’s your friend.
The first tip is to talk to God like He’s your friend. This may sound simplistic, but it’s actually very profound. When you think about it, who do you usually go to when you’re struggling or when you’re trying to make a decision? Your friends, right? The same is true with God. He wants us to come to Him with everything, the good and the bad. So, when you don’t know what to say, just start talking to Him like you would your best friend. Tell Him what’s going on and ask for His help.
Tip #2: Use Scripture as a guide.
Another great tip is to use Scripture as a guide. The Bible is full of verses that can comfort us, encourage us, and give us wisdom in times of need. So, when you don’t know what else to say, turn to God’s Word for guidance. Find a verse that speaks to your situation and use it as a starting point for your prayer. For example, if you’re feeling discouraged, you could pray Psalm 23:4 which says, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”
Tip #3: Pray the Lord’s Prayer.
Another great way to pray when you don’t know what else to say is simply by praying the Lord’s Prayer. This beautiful prayer that Jesus taught us covers all of the bases—from praising God and asking for His forgiveness to requesting His provision and protection. So, even if you don’t know what else to say, you can always fall back on this timeless prayer that Jesus Himself taught us.
The Last Word
Prayer is an essential part of the Christian life but it’s not always easy. There will be times when we don’t know what to say—and that’s okay!
Just remember that prayer is not about saying the right words; it’s about having a conversation with God. So don’t panic if you find yourself at a loss for words. Simply breathe, focus on Scripture, and listen for God’s voice speaking into the silence.