What Should I Say?
by Renee Swope

“Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and petitions.” Ephesians 6:18 (NIV)

My prayers used to feel kind of flat. I didn't know what to say so I stumbled over my words when I talked to God. I especially didn't know how to pray when I was struggling or when a friend was going through difficult times. I wanted to say the right things because I thought that if I prayed the right way, then God would listen and answer my prayers, the way I wanted Him to.
It took me a while, but I finally got up the courage to talk with a friend about my fears and struggles. She explained to me that prayer isn’t about saying or asking the right things; it’s about building a relationship with God by talking to Him, and listening. She taught me how to be still and listen for His still small voice in my spirit before I started praying. I found that if I waited for Him to lead the conversation, the Holy Spirit would guide my thoughts and my prayers.

Over time, I also learned the power of praying God’s words written in the Bible. I read books and heard sermons that taught me that when we pray God's Word, we pray God's will. I loved that idea. It gave me a sense of confidence and direction when I didn’t know what to say in my prayers.

I also wanted my prayers to be filled with power. I wanted to believe that God was able and willing to accomplish what I was praying for. The Bible says that scripture is “alive and active” so I knew that when I prayed in agreement with God’s Words, I could expect those prayers to come alive in a situation and become active in the person's life that I was praying for.

Oftentimes when I pray now, verses that I’ve read in the Bible will come to mind. For instance, when I feel like my plans are spinning out of control, Jeremiah 29:11 will pop into my thoughts. On those days, I’ll pray:

“Lord, you know the plans you have for me, plans to prosper me and not to harm me, plans to give me a future and a hope. You say that if I come to you and pray, you will listen and you will lead me. So, today I surrender my plans for Your plans. Please guide my decisions and thoughts to match Yours so that I can experience hope and not harm. Even though things aren’t going so great today, I trust the plans You have for me.”

I love knowing there isn’t a certain way I have to pray to get God’s attention. In fact, prayer has become one of my greatest passions and joys. I don’t feel any pressure to say the right things anymore. Sometimes I just sit still and let Him whisper His promises into my thoughts and then I ask for their fulfillment with my prayers. Other times I simply pour out my thoughts to Him. And when I need a little direction, or I am not sure what to say, I open up the Bible to align my words with His Words – knowing that I’m also aligning my heart and desires with His will.

Lord, I’m so glad I don’t have to say the right things to get Your attention. Thank You for Your Spirit that lives in me and leads me – in my daily activities and even in my prayers. I would love it if today You’d give me a verse to pray so that I can see Your Word come alive in my circumstances and become active in my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
For a list of scripture prayers to pray for you, your family and friends visit Renee’s Blog.

31 Days of Prayer: Moving God’s Mighty Hand by Ruth Myers

A Busy Woman’s Guide to Prayer by Cheri Fuller

Do You Know Jesus?

Application Steps:
Find one of your favorite verses and turn it into a prayer. Here’s an example:

May the God of hope fill ______ with all joy and peace as ______trusts in him, so that ________may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

To find a verse on a specific topic or keyword, click here to go to Crosswalk’s online Bible search tools.

Do you ever avoid prayer because you feel like you don’t know what to say?

Power Verses:
Psalm 66:19-20, “God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer. ’Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!’” (NIV)

Romans 12:12, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” (NIV)

Philippians 1:9, “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight,” (NIV)

© 2008 by Renee Swope. All rights reserved.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for reminding me of who I can depend on.
I was looking through my phone for my daughter's girlfriend's number when I thought about going to your site for my daily devotion. When I read your words, it reminded me that my help comes from the Lord.
You see my daughter is going through some really rough things right now and my first instinct as a mom is to be there in any way possible. So I was going to call her best friend to ask her to keep an eye on her (so to speak).
My daughter loves the Lord. I love the Lord. And I will depend on Him and His word! I will call upon Him to keep an eye on her!
Blessings! Mary

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Praise to our Lord Jesus Christ. This was exactly what I needed today and I will share it with the others in my prayer group. My husband has just left to minister to an old friend who has cancer. This devo on prayer is perfect for our friends and will surely comfort them.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'm so pleased to read' what should i say'i my self stumble on the words too. it's a ablessing for me to learn this about the verses and prayer thank you lord for sending me this message threw this young lady.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for your encouraging devo. Last year I read Praying God's Word by Beth Moore. It's a great book on scripture prayers and I have found my prayer life enhanced by using my Bible as a tool. I still struggle with knowing scripture from memory, but I know that God interprets my "groaning" and misquoting and knows what is in my heart.

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