Sometimes it helps me, when there are no words to pray, to simply sit and listen for the echoes within. So often I think “there have to be words in prayer,” and often there are, I’m just not always sure how to get them out. But, more and more, I’m finding I have less and less words. In their place, I have sensations, pictures, and resounding groans — which sound deep and dark, but aren’t really. Often I feel the desire to find words for these sensations, pictures, and resounding grounds; but, I have to remind myself that those things can stand on their own. They don’t need to be explained. They don’t need to be confined to the words I would give them. So, instead, I sit with them. I simply let them move about within me. Somewhere, in the sitting, I become aware of God sitting next to me. Almost as if we were sitting on the edge of a chasm, or on a hill, looking down and seeing those pictures, hearing those groans, simply experiencing those things together. Words rarely come. There’s no need for them. Jesus and I simply sit together experiencing the echoes of my heart.

It’s in these moments that I feel my most poetic. It’s in these moments that I become aware of deep desire. Most of the time I can never put words to what that desire is; but I am mostly aware, then, that it is there. There’s a freedom in silence that only not having words can unlock. Because there’s more going on inside us than just words. Things that He sees, that He enjoys, and that He is bringing to our attention! It’s easy to say that it’s in the moments of silence that God speaks, but even those words fall short of the reality. It’s in not having words that we discover a completely different side of ourselves, and of Him, that we don’t experience other places.

For a long time I didn’t know what to do with the pictures, the sensations, the art that was working itself out inside me. It’s only recently that I began to be more comfortable with it. So, when the words stop, and it seems that there is nothing to say, embrace that silence, and wait for something different to emerge. Let those things: that music, those pictures, the colors, those resonations; let those things take the place of words in your prayers. You may find that “He does our praying in and for [you], making prayer out of our wordless sighs, [and] our aching groans.”[1]


[1] The Message, Romans 8:26b.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Prayer… We’ll Figure it Out as We Go Along
Prayer... Meeting Him in the Process