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A Prayer Without Words

Give ear to my words, O Lord;
   give heed to my sighing.
Listen to the sound of my cry.  

Psalm 5:1-2

I was in a dark night of the soul, and had forgotten how to pray. I just couldn’t find the words to say to God. My thoughts and feelings were muddled.

Yet in my heart I wanted to connect with God.  So I did the only thing I knew to do – I went to music. I put on my CD player an instrumental piece that never failed to move me. And then as I listened to the soulful, evocative strain of a cello, I sighed. And as I sighed, I whispered to God: “This is my prayer. This music, it’s what I want to say to you.”

While at the time I wasn’t quite sure of the orthodoxy of what I was doing, when the music was over, I felt God had heard me.  I think that’s why I was moved this morning as I read of David’s inarticulate “sighing” in Psalm 5. I was encouraged to realize that even the sweet singer of Israel had times when he just couldn’t find the words. And so, David cries to the Lord: “Give heed to my sighing.”

Hear David again, in the next Psalm: “The Lord has heard the sound of my weeping” (Psalm 6:8). Sighing and weeping!

On my rounds in the hospital, I frequently hear patients whose prayers are not words.  Through their pains and struggles they have learned to trust with God the unspoken feelings of their heart and the ramblings of their minds. A sigh, a tear, and a tossing in the night, are all understood by the One who loves us.

I take it that even the great Apostle Paul had learned that his sighing and grumbling became prayer as he directed them to God. In Romans 8:26 Paul writes: 
            Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.

We sigh and the Holy Spirit sighs in harmony with us. Take heart!  He understands, and He cares!

Grace and Peace,

Tim Smith

Weekly Bible Classes with Tim Smith

At the Franciscan Renewal Center

(The Garces Room of the Piper Center)


Jesus said that “a person does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”  In this class we will explore what it means to live by God’s word, what it means to receive God’s word fresh each day and to respond to his personal word to us.  This is more than a class in how to study the Bible, or in how to pray. This is about a developing lively conversation with the Living Word.

Begins Tuesday, September 8     NEW TIME:  11:00 – Noon!


The Book of Ecclesiastes is one of the Bible’s most enigmatic, yet most relevant and beautiful books. Ecclesiastes asks the hard questions about the meaning of life, grief and loss, pleasure and profit, money and accumulation, and applies godly wisdom to everyday realities. You’re invited to join us in this study of what is most important in life and how we can live more rich and fulfilling lives. 

Begins Tuesday, September 8     7:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M

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