Have you ever had writer’s block? You know, that point when putting together a paper when you know what you are supposed to be writing, and you know you need to do it, but you just can’t seem to find the words?
How about prayer block? Have you ever had that? You know, that point when you are speaking to God, and you know you need His help and guidance, but you just can’t seem to find the words?
I suffer from prayer block regularly.
Thankfully, there are a few solutions to this problem.
The first solution to prayer block is a simple one: to remember that it is okay. When we can’t find the words, God still knows what is on our hearts, and He knows what is needed. Romans 8:26-27 says,
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.”
But that is not the only answer. For even though God doesn’t need to hear our words, sometimes we do. Prayer is not only us speaking to God, it is also God speaking to us- that may happen in the silence or it may happen through our own words. As we speak words of prayer, the truth of them sinks into our hearts and allows God to work.
So one place I go in times of prayer block is to history. I look at prayers that Christians have uttered through the ages; prayers that have offered comfort, hope, healing, and guidance.
My favorite of such prayers is the Prayer of St. Francis.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled,
as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life. Amen
I love this prayer because it is both deep and simple. And it is applicable to so much of life.
Lord, in my home, when behavior problems have everyone on edge, let me sow love and joy. Help me give more and die to myself. Make me an instrument of Your peace.
Lord, in the super-charged political climate, let me seek to understand and console. Help me be a source of hope and light. Make me and instrument of Your peace.
Lord, in the coming holiday season, when stress and consumerism can be at their peak, let me sow faith, hope, light, and joy in my relationships. Make me an instrument of Your peace.
Even as I write these words, they are speaking to my heart. I need this prayer right now. So I will pray it, knowing God can work through them to bring change to me and to those around me. This may be the answer to my current prayer block.
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.