Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. (Colossians 4:2)
Maybe you always know how to pray. I don’t. There are times I can’t find words. Times I can’t seem to articulate my needs to God, especially in times of grief and loss. But at the same time, I want to obey the apostle’s command to “continue steadfastly” and be “watchful” in prayer, and consciously thankful.
When I sense this is the case, I lean on others. Sometimes I pray through one of the Psalms, making the words my own. Or I thoughtfully pray another person’s prayer, like one from Valley of Vision. Or I ask a spiritual friend to pray with me, and for me. When I practice any of these, I am helped. My spirit is strengthened. Peace and joy return. Today, I want to do that for you.
Pray something like this…
God of all comfort, who comforts your children in times of affliction, comfort me. Nurse me with your grace. Heal the ache that gnaws at my heart. Help me remember Jesus and his incomparable suffering, so that I will run to him as my faithful and empathetic High Priest (Hebrews 4:15).
God of peace, guard my mind in this time of confusion and transition (Philippians 4:6-7). Help me to daily bring to you the innumerable questions and “what ifs” which swirl in my mind. Thank you for Jesus, the Prince of Peace, who has the power to calm any storm (Mark 4:39).
God of justice and righteousness, steady my mind with the understanding that you know all things, which includes the state of the souls of my loved ones. Aid me in prioritizing my own relationship with you, and to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with you, my God (Micah 6:8).
God of mercy and grace, help me to be aware of your presence as you walk with me through this valley of sorrow (Psalm 23:4). Today, help me realize you have already filled my soul’s pantry with a fresh supply of grace-gifts, mercies which are new this morning (Lamentations 3:23).
God of truth, increase my appetite for your Word, as my daily bread, so that my hurting, sometimes-doubting heart will feed on your faithful promises (Matthew 4:4). Lead me to the streams of living water which flow from Christ who says, “whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again” (John 4:14).
On days when I don’t know how to pray, help me to rely upon the Holy Spirit to pray for me “according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26-27).
 Arthur Bennett, Ed., Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1975).