How to Pray When You Just Don’t Know What to Pray

A few years ago life was hard. Not in the dramatic, life-threatening illness kind of way (we were past that season), but in the nothing is going smoothly sort of way. Church was hard. Marriage was hard. Family was hard. Parenting was hard.

During that time, I wasn’t always sure what to pray. In fact, some days I just didn’t know what to pray at all. I wasn’t depressed or angry or hurt … I was really more weary than anything else.

We all have times when we don't know what to pray. Praying Scripture is a way to move through those seasons.
When You Just Don’t Know What to Pray

I’m guessing you know exactly what I’m talking about. We all go through those seasons when life isn’t terrible but it isn’t easy either. The bumps in the road are just enough to keep us off balance.

My quiet time was flat … and if I was the sort of girl who wanted to feel something every time I read Scripture, I probably would have given up on it. I wasn’t sure what to pray because the things in my life that were hard weren’t really hard compared to other people’s situations. But, I needed words for how I was feeling and what was going on both inside me and around me in my life.

It was during that season about four years ago that I really began to pray Scripture with intentionality. I’d often used Scripture as a foundation for my prayers, but that hard season is what made it into a purposeful and daily practice for me.

I was reading through the Psalms at the time and, almost without fail, the words I was reading echoed the way I was feeling. {Read more about how my feelings about the Psalms has changed.}

I began reading and then praying through the passages, personalizing them for my situation. And, while life didn’t get any easier, I found my prayer life was strengthened and my desire to be in the Word returned.

When I started sharing the “verses to pray” series, it was out of those hard months and my experience in them. I’d seen the way praying Scripture had changed me. And I wanted others to know that same power.

We all have times when we don't know what to pray. Praying Scripture is a way to move through those seasons.

Praying Scripture isn’t about being super spiritual — for me it came from being spiritually depleted.

I couldn’t form prayers so God’s Word did it for me. Now, it’s become such a habit in my life I can’t imagine trying to pray without grounding my words in the Word.

Praying Scripture isn't about being super spiritual. For me, it came when I was spiritually depleted. Click To Tweet

Maybe you’re not sure what to pray. Maybe it all feels weird to you. Or maybe you think you don’t know how to pray. Praying Scripture can be the starting point for overcoming any of those things.

If you aren’t sure where to start, you can check out the 31 Verses to Pray for Your Girl series or either of the 31 Verses to Pray for Your Marriage (Old Testament and New Testament) series.  Or, do what I did — read the Psalms and start personalizing them.

How do I pray when I don't know what to pray? @terilynneu shares one thing that works for her. Click To Tweet


Teri Lynne

P.S. If you’re a mom, I’ve got a brand new email series just for you.  Sign up today to get 5 Prayers for a Mother’s Heart slipped into your inbox.  Think of it as a Mother’s Day gift you are giving to yourself.

Read the Psalms this summer with Scripture Dig!

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