All the Right Words
In September, my husband and I went on an amazing vacation to Italy to celebrate our thirtieth wedding anniversary! To say it was wonderful is a huge understatement. I had always wanted to go there so it was a dream come true! In preparation, we decided to learn some Italian. For three months, we faithfully used the Duolingo app and Rosetta Stone. It was fun and helpful being able to communicate in this beautiful language.
In anticipation of our trip, we tried to speak Italian in our home. Soon after we began studying it, I asked my husband what he wanted for breakfast. He answered, “Io sono uovo” which means, “I am an egg”! He didn’t know all the right words, but I understood what he was trying to say.
As Gary and I were learning Italian, our sweet granddaughter, Lily, was learning to talk. It’s been fun watching her discover and use new words. One of her favorites is “Up.” Lily sits on the floor, raises her hands, and proudly proclaims it. She doesn’t have to ask me twice! I love having that sweet baby in my arms. Soon she gets restless, starts to squiggle, and tries to tell us she wants to get down. But Lily once again says, “Up.” Although she uses the wrong word, we can tell what she wants.
Prayer can be like that. We sometimes don’t know what to say. We don’t seem to have the right words. Maybe it’s because we’re overwhelmed by an unexpected diagnosis or tragedy. Perhaps we don’t know how to explain what we’re thinking or what we want. It might be that we don’t even know what to ask. Or maybe we are overflowing with such joy that it’s inexpressible. How do we communicate with God when the words just won’t come?
Two passages that speak to this can bring great encouragement. After telling us some wrong ways to pray (for show or babbling), Jesus says this: “…your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (Matthew 6:8 ESV). What a blessing! The Creator of the universe is aware of every detail of our lives and hearts. How loved and treasured that makes me feel.
Then Romans 8:26 tells us: “…the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” (NIV).
When it comes to prayer, we don’t need to have all the right words. In fact, they don’t even exist. We just have to come before our Heavenly Father and speak what’s on our heart. Or be silent before Him and know that He hears the cry we are unable to utter.
Just something I’m marveling about along the way.