For When You Don’t Know How to Pray

A friend of mine often reminds me that “no” can be a complete sentence.

My urge to supply ample explanation and curry favor with the delivery of my dissent is strong. I fear rejection, disappointment, and disapproval. Sometimes, meanness and retaliation may occur to my “no.” Pouting too.

This creates a cloud of overwhelming emotion. It becomes confusing to know what to say.

Which is when my friend reminds me to just say no.

This is rooted in scripture too:

But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one. –Matthew 5:37

The truth is, “no” is a complete sentence. Sometimes it is that simple.

That one word encompasses all that needs to be said.

This concept came to mind recently when my heart was embroiled in a difficult situation. Weary of weighing the opinions and observations of others, drained from emotions running high, depleted from the daily exhaustion of life with four kids and my own sleepless nights…

I was spent.

Beyond words. Yes, this word girl was fresh out.

I didn’t have a clue how to pray. Do I ask for God’s will? Should I be cultivating a grateful heart? Praising Him? What was the “right” formula?

No energy to untangle that mess, I simply repeated a single word over and over.

And over.

Until the anxiety subsided, my breathing slowed, and my heart was focused.

Until it was praise, gratitude, worship, petition, trust, and full surrender.

I believe that tears are prayers. That breathing can be worship. That the Spirit knows our groanings when words fail.

But this one word? It is a complete sentence.

A complete prayer.


Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father. –Philippians 2:9-11

There is power in His name.

Are you weary? Overwhelmed? Simply in need of some encouragement?

Take a listen!

Name of Jesus, by Chris Tomlin

Click here for lyrics

What centers you in prayer?
How can I pray for you today?


8 Responses to For When You Don’t Know How to Pray
  1. Deb
    September 2, 2013 | 11:29 am

    I love this Mandy! Jesus is the one word answer. When my heart and my mind are pulling me in too many directions . . . Jesus is the answer.

    • Mandy
      September 2, 2013 | 11:49 am

      Thanks, Deb! Sometimes, simplifying things down to that one Word…that gets it all back into perspective.

  2. Chelle
    September 2, 2013 | 2:25 pm

    OOOOOOOOOh girl, you know I love the words God gives you. Be kind to yourself. Often it is the way you feel about the words you say that gives them power, as well as the confidence you display in their delivery. I find that when I am clear, even my No answers can be as sweet as a song, delivered in blessed assurance. But your one word answer? My soul says “Yes!”
    Peace and good to you sweet sister, in Jesus’ name.

    • Mandy
      September 3, 2013 | 5:11 pm

      Chelle, love you, girl! Thank you for being you and for encouraging me:)

  3. Nikki
    September 3, 2013 | 12:43 pm

    Yes….yes….yes….Just Jesus.

    Needed this today, friend. Thank you!!! {HUGS}

    • Mandy
      September 3, 2013 | 5:12 pm

      I’m sorry you needed to hear it, but I hope you felt the warm love of Him drawing you close:) Thank YOU! Xoxo

  4. Colleen Duggan
    September 3, 2013 | 1:28 pm

    Yes! Love this! I’ve said this one word prayer many times. So healing and helpful.

  5. Donna
    September 22, 2013 | 6:45 pm

    Your post reminded me of this song:
    When we don’t know what to say….JUST SAY JESUS!