“I Just Cannot Pray”
By Beth Clarke of Independence, MO, USA
I will both lie down and sleep in peace; for you alone, O Lord, make me lie down in safety. —Psalm 4:8 NRSV
I recently had an experience while in evening prayer. Our congregation has a prayer list which included me, since my cancer diagnosis. It blesses me to hear others say, “You are in my prayers.” It is a sweet and comforting spirit.
As I finished my prayer, I imagined a long table with young and old gathered around. All bowed their heads in prayer. The image brought me to tears. I gave God the glory and thanks for the affirmation that when we ask for prayers, the community prays on our behalf.
I have heard people share, “There are times I just cannot pray,” whether from despair, discouragement, or for other reasons. At those times I have faith that the community prays on their behalf. That’s why I call it my “faith community.”
Prayer for Peace
Tender Shepherd, at times we are weary, but cannot lie down without fear. Sometimes we lie down, but cannot close our eyes without guilt for what we have left undone. Sometimes we close our eyes and dream of nothing but loneliness. Lord, make me lie down in safety. Hear my prayer for peace.
Spiritual Practice: Intercessory Reflection
Sit quietly with your eyes closed as you enter intercessory reflection and prayer. Ask God to bring people who need prayer to your mind and heart. Be open to images of the people or spiritual insight into their needs. Listen for signals from their lives and let the depth of God’s love for them become powerful and real to you. Write, speak, or think a prayer of blessing and healing for these much-loved disciples and friends. Ask God to help you see ways to affirm and support them when you meet them in daily life.
Today, God, I cannot pray—but I know another prays for me.