too deep for words: when we feel broken and we don’t know how to pray

Originally published Tuesday, 30 August 2016.

Oh, God, what do I even say?

This week I wrote and recorded an audio lesson on Romans 8. I read the verses of Romans 8 over and over, asking the Holy Spirit to speak to my heart. I wanted to dig in deep to the promises Paul shares with us. I wanted to explore how the Holy Spirit, when we don’t even know how to pray, intercedes for us. And how Jesus, at the right hand of God, communicates to our Father each word our heart longs to say.

broken - Breathing Eden Romans 8 - prayWe are being fought for, cared for, when our pain, our fear, our worries, make it difficult for us to lift our heads.

We may long for God, but we sometimes don’t know how to pray to Him. We don’t know how to articulate what is truly going on in our heart, our life. Or, we may not even recognize what barriers might exist that make it difficult for us to connect with Him. Or, we don’t even believe He is here, listening.

We need the Holy Spirit to give us words, translate our heart-needs to our Father. It is so beautiful that this is exactly what He does.

But as much as I love this truth—even though it rocks me to my core that God loves us so much that He helps us in our need, I struggled to digest this. My heart was stuck on what Paul says in the very first verse:

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.”

And I realized that, as much as I wanted to jump in and give a talk about the awesomeness of the Holy Spirit interceding for us, I had to wrestle with another truth:

It is a challenge to take in this completely crazy-amazing-beautiful truth: I deserve to be condemned but I am not.

The fact that the Holy Spirit intercedes for me is difficult for my brain, and especially my heart, to register.

It just doesn’t even sink in.

Broken and the women of Breathing Eden - prayer

And this made me think about Jacqueline. 

Jacqueline - Breathing Eden - broken - prayTwenty-three years old, single, a child molestation victim. She is sent to a Christian counseling and treatment program yet doesn’t believe in God or that He can save her. She is convinced He can’t be real. After all, He didn’t save her—not once, not in all those years she was molested, in her own bed, as a child. God can’t be good, she thinks, if she apparently wasn’t loved enough by Him to be kept safe.

And it makes me think of Kate. 

Kate - Breathing Eden - broken - prayForty-six years old. Angry and tormented and in pain. Kate is reeling from the violent death of a loved one, and she pushes back against God’s love. She is wounded and tormented by lies from the enemy about who she is, how she is not good enough, and that she is broken and unfixable. Kate cries out to God, feeling afraid and alone. She fears that God is not good, and that she is too broken to be loved.

These two women are fictional characters in the book Breathing Eden. But they represent real life people, real life situations. I wonder if one of these women in the book is you.

Because, what is most beautiful about these stories that seem so sad, so tragic, is that God speaks directly to the hearts of each of these women. They may doubt they know how to speak to God, or that God cares about them, or that He would ever respond. But He does.

The Holy Spirit translates our deepest prayers, our groanings too deep for words.

God gives us words.

And He speaks right back, in a language unique to us, words that are more than words—whispers of love that we are designed to understand.

That is so awesome.

God is so awesome.

My friend Dolly listened to my audio lesson on Romans 8: “Too Deep for Words: When We Don’t Know How to Pray,” and this is what she said:broken - Romans 8 - pray - Dolly LeeIn the audio lesson you will receive a teaching where I wrestle with the truth of how to pray when we just don’t know how. They are words for the broken, the ashamed, the wounded, the doubting. The are words for the sisters and the brothers who long to hear God’s voice but stumblefeel lost in how to hear, how to trust, how to let go.

I pray, as you listen to the lesson, that you are emboldened, awestruck by God’s love, encouraged.

broken - Romans 8 audio lesson - pray

I created this for you—a gift for the amazing friends who have purchased more than one copy of Breathing Eden—and I want to send it to you!

If you have purchased more than one copy,  just send me your Amazon receipt (to and let me know you bought a second copy. (If you’ve already emailed me let me know, I’ve got you covered! If you haven’t yet, send me your receipt.) I’ll be emailing out the audio lesson right away! (Here is a listing of all the gifts you get from pre-ordering.)

And I love this videoreminding us how, even though we may feel broken, the truth is that in Christ, we are whole. And God has a lot to say to us about that . . .

What is your biggest struggle, right now, in praying?

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