When We Don’t Know What To Pray

Yes, we are continuing with this series of the importance of prayers. Prayer is everything to us believers. In fact, the Lord Jesus emphasized so much on prayer, by even modeling it to us through His lifestyle. The Bible records there were time the Lord Jesus expected to find His disciples praying, but instead were sleeping, and He told them they should pray so that they wouldn’t fall into temptation.

In the book of Matthew chapter 26, we will start reading from verse 36 up to 46, it records; Then Jesus went with His disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and He said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with Him, and He began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then He said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with Me.” Going a little farther, He fell with His face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.” Then He returned to His disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with Me for one hour?” He asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may Your will be done.”  When He came back, He again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So He left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. Then He returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes My betrayer!”

The Lord Jesus warned the disciples, and said, the Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak, so in order to overcome the flesh, and walk in the Spirit, they needed to pray, because if they prayed, they wouldn’t fall into temptation that were before them. So we learn here that when you pray ahead of time, you escape to be a prey to others and your circumstances.

Another example I would like to share is from the book of Mark chapter 9, we will read from verse 14 to 29. It records, “And when He came to the disciples, He saw a great multitude around them, and scribes disputing with them. Immediately, when they saw Him, all the people were greatly amazed, and running to Him, greeted Him. And He asked the scribes, “What are you discussing with them?” Then one of the crowd answered and said, “Teacher, I brought You my son, who has a mute spirit. And wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid. So I spoke to Your disciples, that they should cast it out, but they could not.” He answered him and said, “O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me.” Then they brought him to Him. And when he saw Him, immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground and wallowed, foaming at the mouth. So He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” When Jesus saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter him no more!” Then the spirit cried out, convulsed him greatly, and came out of him. And he became as one dead, so that many said, “He is dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. And when He had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.”

There are some things, they can only come out by prayer and fasting. We learned here, the issue they had was unbelief. The father of the child and it looks like even the disciples, they all had an issue of unbelief, and that’s why they couldn’t cast it out. The father of the boy even confessed that he doubted, and prayed to the Lord Jesus to help him with his unbelief and doubt.

And I like what the Lord Jesus answered the father of the child, after he told Him if You can do anything. It says in verses 22 to 24, “But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” The Message Bible translation says, “Jesus said, “If? There are no ‘ifs’ among believers. Anything can happen.” No sooner were the words out of his mouth than the father cried, “Then I believe. Help me with my doubts!”

Now you see the importance of prayers. Sometimes, even to overcome doubt and unbelief about your tomorrow, or that business deal, or your health issues, you must pray. If you don’t pray you won’t have faith required to be resilient, or change so that things can turn around for your good. If you know you have issues, like addiction to something for instance, unless you pray, you will keep falling into temptation each time when situations represent itself.

When we don’t know what to pray, or we don’t feel like praying, there are three things you can do;

  • Pray with your spirit, in the Spirit, or in tongues

All you have got to do is to ask the Holy Spirit of God to help you pray, and to just open your mouth and start praying. The Bible says in the book of Romans chapter 8 verses 26 and 27, “And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father Who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.”

Sometimes we don’t know what is the really problem that we have and need to pray for. That’s why it’s best and mandatory to pray a lot in the Spirit. When the Holy Spirit of God leads us to pray, we can be sure our prayers have been heard and we have prayed correctly according to His Will and what is going on.

When we pray in the Spirit, it means we are guided by the Holy Spirit of God, or we are praying in the power of the Holy Spirit of God, and sometimes when we do that it would sound like groanings that cannot be expressed in words. Sometimes praying in the Spirit is called praying in tongues, because it would be like you have been given a mouth to speak and pray in another language the things you don’t know about with the help of the Holy Spirit of God.

God wants us to use the power of prayer to accomplish His will on the earth, therefore we should pray pray in the Spirit. When we pray in the Spirit, our prayers are inspired or directed by the Holy Spirit of God.  In the book of Jude chapter 1 verse 20, it says” But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit.” Another Bible translation says, “But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Therefore, we should pray in the language we understand and we should pray in the Spirit in the language we don’t understand. For in 1 Corinthians chapter 14 verse 2 it says “For if you have the ability to speak in tongues, you will be talking only to God, since people won’t be able to understand you. You will be speaking by the power of the Spirit, but it will all be mysterious.”

There is nothing wrong to pray from our minds about the things and issues we know and think about, need, want, and desire. But we should also pray in the Spirit. In fact, Apostle Paul also said in the book of Ephesians chapter 6 verse 18, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”

Remember now what the Lord Jesus said, “the spirit is always willing, but the flesh is weak.” Meaning that the spirit is always willing to pray, but the flesh not so. We learn from the disciples who fell asleep when they were supposed to be praying. So in order to overcome the desires of the flesh that each one of us has, we need to pray in the Holy Spirit or with the spirit to be able to do the Will of God for our lives.

The Lord Jesus said in the book of John chapter 4 verses 23 and 24 that “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Also in the book of Romans chapter 8 verses 5 up to 8, it explains “Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.”

  • Pray in the Word of God

When you don’t know what to pray, find the Scripture that you think relates to your situation and pray through it, or make it to meet your prayer points. For instance; the book of Psalm has a lot of prayer and praise points Scriptures.

I will give an example; when you are not sure who have placed themselves to be your enemies and what traps they have set against you. Instead of trying to figure out the situations and give yourself a headache, you can just declare let’s say Psalm 121, and say something like “My help comes from the LORD, Who made the heavens and the earth. He will not let me stumble and fall. The Lord Himself watches over me. The Lord stands beside me as my protective shade. The sun will not hurt me by day, nor the moon at night. The Lord keeps me from all evil and preserves my life. The Lord keeps watch over me as I come and go, both now and forever. In the Mighty Name of Jesus.”

Another example is when you are feeling uncertain about things you can pray Romans chapter 8 verse 28 “And we know that GOD causes everything to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose for them.” So you can say, “Oh Lord, let it please You to turn things around for my good. Although things seem like were meant for my harm, use those meant to destroy me, and turn them for my good.”

For instance you can take Matthew chapter 7 verses 7 and 8, that says “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Oh Lord, You said when I ask, whatever it is, it shall be given to me. Therefore, I am asking you for this and that. If it’s Your Will for my life, let it please You to give to me. Lord, You said if I knock the door will be opened to me. Open this door of opportunity for me, and so on. I receive it by faith, in the Name of Jesus. Amen.

Another Scripture for example is Isaiah 54 verse 17 which says “No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from Me,” says the LORD.” So you can declare, no weapon formed or set up against whether done in the air, in the water, on the land, on the mountain, under the ground, around me, in me, or through me, in other people’s minds can prosper! I declare it, so shall it be, in the Mighty Name of Jesus.

So those are just few examples of how we can pray through Scriptures. And the benefit of praying in the Word of God is that if God promised it, if it is God’s Will, then it will come to pass. The Lord said through prophet Isaiah, in the book of Isaiah chapter 55 verse 11, “When He sends His Word, it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all He wants it to, and it will prosper everywhere He sends it.”

  • Pray through hymns and Salvation songs

If you know some hymns and salvation songs that are like prayer then sing them. Give thanks and pray through them. So you can engage in spiritual warfare through praise and worship.

You want God to hear your prayers speedily, engage in praise and worship. The Bible says God inhabits the praises of His people. In the book of Psalm chapter 22 verse 3, reading from Amplified Bible version it says “But You are holy, O You Who are enthroned in [the holy place where] the praises of Israel [are offered].” New Life Bible version says, “Yet You are holy. The praises Israel gives You are Your throne.”

Sometimes all you have got to do is praise God, and He will notice you. And when God notices you, and He sees how you praise and worship Him in Spirit and truth, how many of you know that He will intervene in your situations? He will come and dwell with you and help you because of how you praise Him.

There are so many hymns that they were designed as prayers in the form of songs. Since hymns are very easy to remember by heart, sing them, and pray through them.

And those are just about three methods we can incorporate when we don’t know what to pray, or even how to start about doing it.


Helen Majaga is a founder of Helen Majaga International, Live to Your Full Potential Podcast & YouCount Magazine, specializing in the training and development of individuals and businesses to achieve personal and professional goals.

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