December 1, 2022
3 Ways To Pray When You’re Too Stressed To Know How
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“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 (NASB1995)
I’ve always been good at praying. Or so I thought.
My daddy left when I was 7. I’ve always looked to God as my Father, my Provider. I didn’t realize God wants to be more than just my Provider; God longs to be my soul’s confidant. Deep where I feel lonely — where I struggle to receive and make space for myself — God wants me to breathe and rest as His beloved.
At the end of the day, even though I had accomplished a lot, my soul still felt anxious. What I really longed for, I didn’t create space for: peace and joy. I did not nurture my soul with God. I found it easier to take care of others and get things done for God rather than be vulnerable with my needs.
But God began showing me prayer is an intimate soul conversation, a way to be loved and known, rather than a spiritual transaction to be made better.
Praying touches the part of me that is uncertain, full of questions and doubts. That is why praying is hard to do. And when I didn’t know how to pray, it made me feel ashamed. But Jesus understands and whispers, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
Do you long to break free from anxiety, stress and worry? Sometimes, it takes more faith to tell God we don’t know how to pray than to keep praying like we used to.
This is how I began to discover God’s rest more deeply — to breathe in powerful scriptures affirming God’s love and breathe out stress using soul care: practical ways to restore God’s peace and presence to my emotions and my body! I started learning how to love myself the way God loves me.
Maybe you’re asking: How can I draw closer to God and take better care of myself when I’m so stressed? This was my question too. I began researching answers, and to my delight, God helped me discover powerful ways to lower stress with uplifting scriptures, use simple soul care practices to spark joy, and pray calming prayers. Here are three lessons I learned:
1. When you don’t have words to pray, simply rest in knowing that Jesus is praying for you. Nothing can separate you from God’s love. Not even your unrest. He’ll never get tired of you. Sometimes, the greatest prayer we can experience is God’s complete understanding and compassion. His presence. “Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus … is also interceding for us.” (Romans 8:34, NIV)
2. When you’re too stressed to pray, invite Jesus into your world — consider journaling. Instead of struggling to reach Jesus, invite Jesus into your world, perhaps through journaling. Research shows that the power of writing your personal story can help lift some feelings of depression and improves happiness. Even 15 minutes makes a difference!
God can use many things to speak into our lives, including journaling. When we journal our stories with God, we give Him space to rewrite our stories. Don’t you get “aha” moments as you write? As your words flow, be honest. Use my favorite journaling prompt: Dear Jesus, I’ve been quiet about this … and feel the comfort of God’s loving care wrapped around you. “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7, NIV)
3. When you’re too exhausted to pray, take care of yourself. Do you know the story of Elijah in Scripture? He did everything right — even defeating the prophets of Baal, a false god. Yet his problems got worse. Stress broke Elijah’s spirit. In despair, Elijah woke up to find water to drink and fresh bread baking on hot stones — which God left just for him. Not only that, but God sent an angel to touch him —twice.(1 Kings 19:5-8) God knew Elijah needed physical rejuvenation first in order to hear His voice whispering in a gentle breeze. (1 Kings 19:12)
Soul Care Tip: Let God love you. Do you need sleep, something yummy and healthy to eat, a friend’s touch, emotional safety or physical rest? Prioritizing your well-being may feel selfish, yet God’s Word says we comfort others “with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:4, ESV).
You’re worth loving. Take one day at a time. God will provide. Just breathe.
Dear Jesus, I need You. Bring peace to my heart as I cast my cares on You and simply rest in Your arms of love. Thank You for loving me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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FOR DEEPER STUDY
1 Kings 19:7, “…Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.” (ESV)
1 Peter 5:7, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (NIV)
What helps you feel God’s peace when you’re too stressed to pray? Let us know in the comments!
© 2022 by Bonnie Gray. All rights reserved.
Originally published Thursday, 01 December 2022.