How to Pray When You Don’t Know What to Say

by | Oct 3, 2017 | Pain, Prayer | 12 comments

I’m delighted to introduce you to Sarah Forgrave and her new book Prayers for Hope and Healing. Walking through chronic medical issues took Sarah’s prayer life to a new level. Find hope through her experience.

Now here is Sarah…

For most of my life, I approached prayer like a checklist. It went something like this. Adore God. Confess my sins. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Ask Him for what I want.

This checklist helped fill the awkward silence, but when life got hard, so did prayer.

Suddenly my adoration wasn’t so quick to rise to the surface. Instead of confession and gratitude, I was mad at God for letting me hurt. There were plenty of things I wanted Him to do, but I frankly didn’t have much faith He would follow through on them.

Have you found yourself in the same place?

There’s nothing wrong with a checklist to guide us through prayer. I’m grateful for the tools and models that were given to me at a young age

But today, I want to share some truths about prayer that apply to those uglier times of life. Those times when you don’t know what to say – not because you forgot your checklist, but because you feel disillusioned by God.

Peeling Away the Mask

It took me a long time to realize that prayer isn’t about coming to God with a neat and tidy list; it’s about coming to Him as I am.

He already knows the turmoil inside me. He hears every thought and feels every emotion. He can see right through the neat and tidy list, so why do I think I can fool Him otherwise?

One of my favorite books of the Bible, especially when I’ve faced trials, is Psalms. So many times, David doesn’t hold back his questions and anger. He comes to God as He is and lays it all out there.

In Psalm 22:2, he writes, “Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer. Every night I lift my voice, but I find no relief.”

These words flat-out blame God for His ignorance. Seems blasphemous, doesn’t it?

But did God condemn David for expressing his thoughts? No. He did the opposite. He included them in His Holy Book as an invitation for us.

We don’t need to wear a mask when we pray. All God asks is that we come to Him right where we are, honest and real.

Hope in the Hard Place

So what then? Once you’re honest with God, how do you reach a place of hope?

It’s not found in a phony squaring of the shoulders or empty words of praise. It’s about staying in that authentic place, with the mask still peeled away as you seek the truth about who God is.

The Psalms are the perfect place for this too. In the verses after David’s rant in chapter 22, he follows by saying, “Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. Our ancestors trusted in you, and you rescued them.”

You may read that and still question whether God can rescue you. You may question His holiness and trustworthiness.

But no matter what, stay in that place of authentic seeking. Ask God to grow your #faith again. Share on X

But no matter what, stay in that place of authentic seeking. Ask God to grow your faith again. Read His Word and pour it into your mind. Commit to watching for His presence, even in your hard place.

He’s with you in the valley and on the mountaintop, longing for relationship no matter what life brings.

Bio: Sarah Forgrave is an author and wellness coach who loves inspiring others toward their full potential. In addition to her book, Prayers for Hope and Healing (Harvest House, October 2017), her writing credits include contributions to The Gift of Friendship, Guideposts’ A Cup of Christmas Cheer, and the webzine Ungrind. When she’s not writing or teaching, she loves to shop at Trader Joe’s or spend time with her husband and two children in their Midwest home. Visit Sarah at, or at the following sites: Facebook:





More about Prayers for Hope and Healing— Amid Pain and Weakness…There is HOPE

Serious or chronic medical issues bring a litany of painful and confusing feelings that only someone else who’s been in a similar situation could possibly understand. Sarah Forgrave has walked the difficult road you find yourself on. And she empathizes with the uncertain future you face.

No matter the road ahead, you don’t have to face it alone. Even in the depths of your worst emotional and physical pain, God is right there beside you, offering His comfort, love, and peace.

As you read these heartfelt prayers and devotions, let this book be your manual to help navigate the difficult set of emotions that come with health issues. Read it front to back or go directly to the devotion addressing how you feel at any given moment…when you need it the most.

Above all, know that you are never, ever alone.

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  1. Ann Musico

    This looks like a wonderful devotional and there are several people I know struggling with chronic illness who could definitely find hope and comfort. Thank you for sharing.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Ann, what I like about it is it’s small and manageable. When you don’t feel good that’s exactly what you need. Thanks for sharing.

    • Sarah Forgrave

      Ann – Thank you so much! I love your heart for others. My prayer in writing the book was that it would be a helpful and thoughtful gift, and Harvest House Publishers did a fantastic job designing it with that in mind.


  2. Horace Williams Jr

    Coming to Him as I am. That is where it starts Sarah. Unfortunately, sometimes it takes brokenness to get our attention and turn us to God. There are so many people out there who are hurting. I pray your devotional will give them clarity when it comes to communing with Him. Blessings to you and yours.

    • Sarah Forgrave

      So well stated, Horace. Thank you for your prayers and blessings!

  3. Jacqueline Wallace

    Thanks for sharing Sarah’s book. I’m thinking of adding it to my list of Resources in the back of the Brokenness to Beauty Bible study I am writing.

    • Sarah Forgrave

      Jacqueline – Thank you! Let me know if I can offer any additional resources for your Bible study. I love the title!


  4. Pam Ecrement

    So needed!!! This is excellent! The truth is right in the opening paragraph for so many who are trying to do things “just right” and have been taught so much about prayer that they forget that Jesus and our prayers are first of all about relationship with Him. He knows us and He is more than okay with us being real about where we happen to be. It doesn’t knock Him off His throne!

    • Sarah Forgrave

      “It doesn’t knock Him off His throne” – LOVE that. So true. Thanks for visiting today, Pam!

  5. Jacqueline Wallace

    Debbie/Sarah, I am looking for a way to reblog Sarah’s post on my own blog, if that is okay with you all. I don’t see a “reblog” button so am asking!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Hi Jacque, I’ve been out of the country and am catching up on comments. I’m not familiar with reblog button. Sounds like a great idea. You are welcome to share the link. I know Sarah would love for more people to hear about her book, which I am enjoying now. I’ve heard google can tag something as spam if it has same title and content. A different title and introduction with a link or a guest post from Sarah should avoid that. Thanks for all you do to support the hurting!

      • Jacqueline Wallace

        Hi Debbie. Welcome back. I just now looked on your site for your reply. I had my own blog post tagged as spam on facebook recently and had to tell them it wasn’t spam. Spooky. Anyway, I will try to repost Sarah’s article, with link, on my blog in the near future. I’ll check out her website first and try to communicate with her. Thanks for all you do!

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