Have you ever had times when you don’t know what to pray? You desperately want to pray but the words just won’t come! Whether you’re walking through a crisis, dealing with a difficult person or simply having a bad day, know that you’re not alone. Let me share what I do when the words won’t come and I don’t know what to pray.

woman with hands clasped together praying

For years I thought it was horrible when I’d sit down to talk to God but have no idea where to start, or even what to say. I thought something was wrong with me, or even that I might be super “un-spiritual.” I’ve since learned that’s not the case at all, and the Lord has showed me what to do when I don’t know what to pray.

The next time you don’t know what to pray, try one of these ideas that have been helpful to me.

1. Let The Holy Spirit Pray For You

Whether it’s walking through a crisis in my own life, or even hearing about tragic news from friends, I’ll bow my head to pray but the words just won’t come. And then I’m reminded of the the words from Romans 8:26, “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.”

I know that asking the Holy Spirit to pray on our behalf sounds odd, but I’d like to encourage you to give it a try. Even though you dont know what to pray, you’ll be comforted knowing that prayers are going up for the circumstance at hand. After all, who better to pray on your behalf than the Holy Spirit?

2. Speak the Name of Jesus

“When you don’t know what to say, just say Jesus. There is power in the name, the name of Jesus. If the words won’t come cause you’re too afraid to pray, just say Jesus.”Just Say Jesus from 7eventh Time Down

Just as the words to the song say, there is power in the name of Jesus! Speak His name when you don’t know what to pray and you’ll be amazed at the peace it will bring.

3. Journal Your Thoughts

The idea of journaling actually came from one of my readers who commented on this post when I first wrote it. Here’s what Deb has to say about journaling when she doesn’t know what to pray:

I have found that using my journal writing more like letters to God is helpful. Sometimes I am inspired from the first key strokes but sometimes it starts out Dear God, I don’t know what to say… God are you there? I pray you are and that you will shine a light on me cause I am lost at this moment… Almost always before I am finished writing/typing I have got clarity and even we I don’t I have peace that I will soon.

Whether it be pen and paper or typing out your thoughts, why not try journaling when the words won’t come during prayer time.

Journal using the Abundant Living Prayer Journal

This journal includes the 4 keys to an abundant prayer life that will teach you how to pray and guide you through the daily prompts as you begin your prayer time each day.

When I put these keys into practice, my daily prayer life was transformed and praying became much easier. Instead of always asking the Lord for things, I began having intimate conversations with Him and I want the same for you!

Grab your journal here in my Etsy shop!

4. Listen to Praise and Worship Music

Am I the only person that has mini praise and worship sessions when my favorite songs are playing? What better way to talk to the Lord than to worship Him through praise and worship music!

Certain songs have special meaning because the Lord used them to help me get through a rough time. When I hear those songs, I can’t help but thank the Lord for bringing me through that time.

Related: 20+ Songs About Fear To Encourage You On The Hard Days

5. Say Scripture Out Loud

There is great power when we speak the Word of God over ourselves or our situation. Repeat the verse out loud until it sinks deep into your heart!

Not sure where to start, the Psalms are always a big comfort to me. I’ve also put together a list with verses about trusting God when all confidence feels lost and verses about strength in hard times

6. Draw/Sketch A Picture

If you have an artistic bent, pull out your tools to draw and sketch your thoughts and feelings as you cry out to God. I have no doubt that He can speak to you and you’ll begin to have a conversation with Him while you’re drawing or sketching.

7. Be Still In His Presence

Many times we think of prayer as being only us talking to the Lord. And while that’s a big part of prayer, being still and waiting for Him to commune with us is a big part of prayer too. 

While I’ve never heard God’s audible voice when I’ve been still during prayer, there have been many times when He’s spoken to me through the Holy Spirit as a gentle nudge or calling on my heart as different thoughts come to mind. 

Sit in His presence for 5-10 minutes…it will change your day!

The next time you sit down to pray and have no clue where to start, try one of these ideas. The key is to not overcomplicate prayer but to be intentional about it. If you take the time to meet with Him, James 4:8 reminds us that He’ll meet with you. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”


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