There is a post going around social media that tells of a child praying the alphabet. When an adult asked why this child just prayed her ABC’s, she replied: “I didn’t know the words to say so I figured God would put the letters in the right order.” I will pause here while everyone’s heart melts just a tad! Around Easter, I wrote of that difficult prayer. What about the one we cannot frame into words?
This got me thinking about that “unspoken” request we often hear in church. It has become more popular or it may just be my take on what stands out to me. I used to be against such thoughts. I mean, the Word tells us to present our requests to God (1 John 5:14-15) and to be specific in doing so (Philippians 4:6-7). James 5:16 tells us to do so to one another. That we are to confess our sins so that we may be healed. I mean, “real” Christians would confess their sins to one another, right?
Where there are circles we need to have that include people we trust with any request, often there are many reasons as to why someone will mutter that easy “unspoken” request. The request may be so personal, that revealing those details may be inappropriate for the setting. Maybe trust was broken the last time details were given. And maybe, like that child, in the beginning, we do not know how to form the words. Maybe, just maybe, we are so humbled in our sinful state that His majesty and power overwhelm the thought of approaching Him in our hour of need.
Romans 8:26 gives us that comfort. “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” Look at that sole verse for a moment. If the Spirit (one of the Godhead) cannot find the words to express our prayer, how are we to even attempt? Maybe that child, in the beginning, was on to something! There are times to keep things in secret when the only one who knows is the Father (Matthew 6:6). It is in those times, on our knees, humble and weak, that we need the support of our brothers and sisters.
The Word tells us to bear one another burdens (Galatians 6:2) and does not say we have to know of one another’s burdens and the specifics they carry. Maybe there is someone out there that has that burden so great, they cannot carry it. Even Jesus needed help with the cross. Lean on a brother or sister in Christ. For we do not need to know the burden but the existence of one to lift one in prayer. I will rejoice with you and I will kneel with you just the same.
God knows how to put all the letters in place. He also knows our requests before we bring them. I pray for those unspoken requests out there. For those requests that are too painful to whisper or embarrassing to think of or simply those requests that we cannot trust others to have the specifics. I know the God I serve knows your heart, your requests, and your anxieties. I lift those to His throne. I rest on the same confidence described in Hebrews 4:16 and He will provide for our needs according to His will. I pray for all those requests I cannot hear but are known like the scars on the hands of Jesus to Him. I lift those requests to His throne and ask for His will be done. Amen!
“For your Father knows what you need before you ask Him”