When you don't know how to pray
Have you been through depression, grief or trials that cause you to lose your ability to pray?
In the depths of my depression the world felt overwhelmingly dark. My thoughts were constantly dark. My heart felt dark too. I felt weak and I couldn’t articulate how I felt. I had no idea how to pray anymore BUT God showed me how to use song as therapy and to then pray the scriptures out loud when I had no prayers of my own to pray.
“In Christ Alone, my hope is found, He is my light, my strength, my song…” This song became an anthem for me. I played this song on my phone over and over so I could pray along with it as my soul cried out with yearnings it could not express.
Christ alone was my hope. If I listened to the lies that beat me up day in and day out, telling me I was a terrible mother, a terrible wife, an awful friend, a bad Christian… if I listened to the lies that I was sick and I would always be sick, I would lose my hope. I put this song on and prayed out loud along with the song, begging Jesus with every fiber of my being to be my hope, to give me hope, hope that I had lost and so desperately needed to survive.
I described my life and myself as dark, but I knew in my mind that God was light. It felt like I was completely dark, that it was impossible to see or experience the light again. Even when my heart deceived me, I played this song and was reminded to focus on the truth. God is the light of the world and His light dwells within me, depression, or no depression! In John 8:12 Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” I FELT dark, but I was NOT dark. I begged God to be my light, to make me feel the light again one day. “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” Psalm 73:26.
“He is my strength, my song…” In Isaiah 41:10 God says “I Will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” I begged God to keep this promise to me. I didn’t feel strong, rather I felt weak and sick. But I held onto this verse with both hands and OUT LOUD told God I believed he would do this for me, even when I didn’t feel it. I didn’t have a song to sing, but I sang this song over and over, holding onto hope that one day I would have a song to sing again. Today I am there my friend, my soul sings daily with gratitude for how God did in fact keep his promise and make me strong again!
“This cornerstone, this solid ground, firm through the fiercest drought and storm…” I was in the middle of the worst drought and storm I had ever been in. I hadn’t felt God is such a long time. I didn’t feel Him or hear Him… my soul felt so thirsty and so weary. I felt like I was in the middle of the desert and I had no idea when I would find my way out. I also often described my depression to my husband like I was drowning amid an awful storm. Like I was treading water, the wind was blowing, the waves were crashing over and over and I couldn’t keep my head above water. All my muscles were tired and I couldn’t catch my breath. That’s why the words of this song connected to me so much… I had to cling to God as my solid ground, the one who held me up and prevented me from drowning, who kept me from wasting away in the desert drought. A cornerstone is the first stone that must be perfectly plumb, straight and sturdy, the foundation for all the other stones to be laid upon. A cornerstone keeps the entire building firm. I had to beg Jesus often to be my cornerstone, to keep me firm in my faith when I could not do it myself.
If you are suffering today and are at a loss of how to pray, you are not alone. I encourage you to play this hymn and pray along with it. There were more days than I could count when all I could do was listen and pray along. If you have a little strength in you today, I challenge you to write out the following Bible verses and pray them out loud, often. Even though you may feel week, claim the truth that God will give you strength and see you through this wilderness and storm. The storm will not last forever. There will be a day that you stand on the other side of the water and your feet are planted firmly on dry ground, a ground lush, flowing with milk and honey.
“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak” Isaiah 40:29
“My soul is weary with sorrow, strengthen me according to your word” Psalm 119:28
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble” Psalm 46:1
“Lord, be gracious to us, we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress” Isaiah 33:2
Jesus said, “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
*If you are in a good place today but know a loved one or a friend who is in the middle of a storm or drought, text them one of these verses and encourage them. Even the strongest of believers needs daily reminders of God’s truth and hope in times of darkness.*