None of us knows when it will come — news that shocks, or hurts, or sends one into hopeless unbelief. “Surely it can’t be!” We shout to ourselves, knowing all along that the news we have received is true. Some want to walk away to think alone. Others seek out family or close friends to talk it out. All of us who have a personal relationship with God want to pray — but sometimes words won’t come.
I experienced the above this week, receiving news about a dear friend that I didn’t want to be true. Tears slowly came to my eyes as the fact of what I was reading from my friend hit me. Suddenly I was feeling a pain deep inside, an unwanted hurt that I could not send away. The thought came that I must pray.
I wanted to pray, to lift my friend’s situation to our Father, but words would not come. Not one word formed in my brain to utter on behalf of my friend. Thankfully, I knew this didn’t matter. Prayer is so much more than words.
Have you ever felt so distressed that forming sentence structures to speak out as a prayer escaped you? If you have ever experienced that and felt a weak failure, then please take comfort in knowing that prayer is not confined to written or spoken language. While prayer can be given in words, the words themselves aren’t necessary. You see, it’s all a matter of the heart.
The Bible reminds us that it is God who sees what is in the heart. Mankind cannot hide from God because He sees what no one else can see. Words often reveal what is in the heart and they also hide what is there to human onlookers, but never to God. He knows all. He sees all. “…The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” I Samuel 16:7
For our subject today, when you come to a point of such distress that you want to speak words of prayer but cannot — you are actually at that point in a place of prayer. When you have a desire to bring your pain to your Father, to ask His help and comfort, He is already hearing and answering. He listens to the pain of your heart better than you can interpret it yourself. He knows why you cry. He takes that grief or fear and begins His response to your heart’s prayer. Isn’t that absolutely beautiful?
Father does not require words. He requires that we give Him our heart and all that is in it. To be aware of His presence is a life walking in prayer. To have a desire to give Him our pain is a life that lives in prayer. That is why He tells us that He holds our every tear in a bottle. Why does He do that? Because every tear represents a prayer of the heart, calling out its need for hope, comfort, and guidance.
He cares about all that hurts us. He hears our heart. He holds every tear. He answers every prayer.