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  • Betsy James

When You Don't Know What to Pray


Do you ever find yourself in the middle of situations that you want to pray about but you aren't sure how to pray? We know that it is God's will for us to take everything to Him in prayer and to pray according to His will and yet sometimes God's will for a situation is unclear. We don't know if we are to pursue adoption, or make that career move, or home school our kids. We don't know if God's will is to bring healing to our elderly relative or to give children to the friend struggling with infertility. Of course, it isn't wrong to simply ask for what we want, but mostly, we want to want what God's wants...we just don't always know what that is.

In the event that you find yourself in this situation, here are three scriptures that I come back to time and time again.

2 Chronicles 20:12b - We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.

This is a prayer of faith - an admission that we see in part but God sees the whole picture. I am praying this prayer a lot lately as a way of saying, "God, I don't know what the next step is but I'm ready to take it when You're ready to show me." This is a prayer of waiting - a prayer of anticipation and of earnestly seeking the Lord.

Romans 4:17 - as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.

Sometimes we struggle to pray because we can't see anything but bad options. A, B and C are all terrible and we forget that God is not limited to our logic or reasoning. He is not constrained by our current reality - He is a God who calls things into existence that DO NOT CURRENTLY EXIST! This means that He might be preparing an outcome that we would never think of - not in a million years. Nothing is too dire to take to God in prayer. This scripture reminds me to pray beyond my own imagination.

And lastly, here is my favorite, always appropriate, go-to prayer:

John 12:28a - Father, glorify Your name.

This prayer is never wrong. You can pray this in your heartbreak and your celebration, in your struggles and your victories, your best days and your worst days. When we aren't sure what God is doing or what He is trying to accomplish through a situation, we can be sure that it is His will to bring glory to His name. And the reminder that bringing glory to the Father is what our life is ultimately about adds weight and meaning and eternal purpose to whatever situation in which we find ourselves.

Father, glorify Your name through our financial struggles.

Father, glorify Your name in our family.

Father, glorify Your name through this sickness.

Father, glorify Your name through this new opportunity.

When we don't know what to pray, these scriptures are a good place to start. And these are prayers God loves to answer.

Phil 4:5b-7

The Lord is near.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds

in Christ Jesus.

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