I have been sighing a lot lately. It’s because I’m not perfectly well these days and don’t know when I’ll be my usual healthy self again. I will be, it’s not life threatening or even very serious. But uncomfortable and annoying for now. So I have been sighing. I’ve noticed a sigh can have many meanings. It can be a moan. Or a complaint. Or an expression of resignation to the realities of your life. Or a breath. Or a question. Or a prayer. It can be a silent, wordless prayer.

Probably in your grief you have done some sighing too. If your child died over a long period of time, you probably sighed during that process too. You had questions, maybe some complaints and certainly some prayers expressed by those sighs.

The apostle Paul, in his letter to the Romans, also mentions moans and wordless prayers. God understands when we don’t understand the confusion in our own mind. Sometimes we can’t even put words together to make a sensible prayer. But God knows.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. Romans 8:26-27

His Spirit knowing our heart and mind makes sense of our feelings-without-words and forms them into a prayer that He expresses for us. What He prays is always in accord with God’s plan and agenda for the world and for us. Those prayers are certainly answered because they are perfectly on target.  

It is ok when you can’t pray. God knows and forms your confusion into a prayer that effectively expresses the intersection between your sorrows and His agenda in the world and in your life. These prayers are among those that qualify as “the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” James 5:16. Keep praying. God is listening.