Sometimes the words just won’t come. There are moments when they may even seem inappropriate. We are overwhelmed. We are exhausted. We are speechless. We are stuck.
Yet there is another part of our brain that allows us to speak just as much, or even more powerfully, than our ill tongues.
God created and equipped us in a magnificent way. What we can’t seem to speak, we can often write. Just as any linguist or neurologist will tell you — reading and writing require an entirely different process, and use a very different part of the brain than listening and speaking.
In the words of the Psalmist,
…my tongue is the pen of a ready writer,” (Psalms 45:1).
In this post I’m going to share with you about writing your prayers. It is a powerful alternative when our tongues are so ill-equipped.
It’s no surprise that God has written to us. The glory and magnificence of His Word is relayed to us in various ways. Yet the written Word is no less powerful than His spoken word.
Don’t be shy about grabbing a pen and paper if you need to talk to Him. You are merely speaking to Him in kind.
Your hand is able to communicate thoughts and emotions in ways that your tongue simply cannot. It’s a neurological fact. As a nurse I care for patients everyday who cannot speak due to stroke and other traumatic brain injuries. Yet they can communicate their thoughts in writing quite well when given the proper tools. So don’t be shy. Your hand may surprise you. It is an excellent conduit for the breathings of your heart and mind.
When Paul visited the Corinthian church some of the people mocked him saying he was “contemptible” in his speech although his letters were so weighty and powerful (see 2 Corinthians 10:10). Obviously Paul spoke very differently in person from how he communicated in writing. Against this disparity Paul vehemently defended himself as one who is commended by the LORD. He therefore needed no commendation from man.
I can confirm as a writer that my written voice is also very different from the way I speak in person. There are many authors and writers who would attest to the same. My written voice or style can also vary depending on what I’m writing, or with whom I’m communicating. Authors and writers commonly have more than one voice they use.
For those of you who have never written your prayers or perhaps considered writing them, I want to encourage you to keep this spiritual key in your back pocket for those times when you really need it. I believe you will be shocked at what comes forth, and how liberating it can be in times when our tongues fail us or when speech is inopportune or inappropriate.
When to Write Your Prayers
I don’t believe we need to write every prayer. That’s simply not practical. But some prayers are at their best when they are written. They are very deserving of a pen and paper. As for the LORD, He has no preference, I assure you. What He’s interested in is your heart. He wants you to be genuine with Him; as wholly transparent as possible. If a pen and paper allow that to happen for you, then by all means find them.
Some prayers are not conveniently written. When we pray in the Spirit or with a group of people, we must be willing to aptly speak, listen, agree, affirm, and even declare. God can hear us in whatever manner we speak to Him, be it our thoughts, in our tears, or even in the silence of our hearts.
For those of you who may find this practice uncomfortable or new, I suggest writing prayers in some of the following situations:
When you are unable to speak. There are times when we are limited in our speech. In the same way we may choose to text when we can’t openly talk on the phone; we may choose to write God when we can’t openly pray. Silent prayers are fine, of course. But there are many times and situations when we cannot speak freely, or when we are speechless and words simply fail us. Crafting a written prayer or having a prayer journal can be very appropriate in such situations.
When you are wanting to set a clear record. Are you consistently praying for someone or something? Do you need to keep track of what God is doing in regard to a special need? Is there a season in your life that deserves a reliable timeline? A prayer journal will help you accomplish this, and will also set a record for future reference when there is progress to note or clear answers to establish.
When you need to vent. Sometimes emotion that is not appropriate to display deserves a safe outlet. Some of my most powerful prayers were written during such times. What I did not have the guts to say with my mouth out loud to God, I was well able to readily write — and with remarkable candor. The emotional release afforded was quite shocking. It brought great clarity. The truth came out, allowing me to see my innermost thoughts, feelings, and intentions. This is the part of us with which God wants to desperately connect. However, we must be able to connect with that part of us if we’re going to offer it to Him. When we can do that effectively, He is able to reach us where we are.
When you need to remember. Sometimes we need to remember our prayers — what we ask for; what we feel; who we pray for — it deserves recollection. Write those prayers down. They can serve as powerful reminders with God as your witness.
A Journal of Praise
A prayer journal can often serve us very well in the future, becoming a journal of praise and edification. When we look back and begin to see how God brought us through tough and trying times and how He answered us, we are strengthened and encouraged. Our hearts and eyes are enlightened as well.
Many of our spoken prayers are not remembered well enough. They are the dailies. Far too mundane. We forget what we say to God. We forget what we ask, and we forget what we promise Him. Unlike our Creator, we lose our reference point quite easily throughout our journey. Yet when we can write our prayers, being fully aware and completely candid, we are enabled to walk with Him in a manner that brings enormous edification — not only to us, but to others also.
Words written are much more deliberate than those spoken. When we can write to God, our internal awareness is heightened.
In conclusion, consider carrying a small prayer journal. Write down prayers that need to be written. Keep it clandestine. I believe it will reward you in remarkable ways in the future. And remember, God is equally the author of the written word as He is the spoken. He obliges both. So don’t’ be afraid to write to Him.
May all your prayers be heard and answered, whatever form they may take.
Cheers & Shalom,
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