What to pray

When You Don’t Know What to Pray

prayerGuest post by Stacey Thacker


Have you ever had someone ask you how they can pray for you and not known what to say? This happened to me as recently as last week. I was in a meeting and a trusted friend asked me that very question and I drew a complete blank.

Was it that I didn’t have any requests or need prayer?

Not by a longshot—I have a prayer list a mile long.

The next thought that settled after a sense of emptiness was, “Where to begin?” Lately, my prayers haven’t been fine or fancy. They have been simple threads of prayer based on beloved Scripture passages. They have become well-worn paths that I have walked over and around for weeks and months. I have jotted them on post it notes, written them in my journal, and texted them to my girlfriends. These are the prayers I pray when I don’t know what to pray. And because they are based on Scripture, I can pray with confidence knowing that he loves to answer prayers based on his true word offered back to him.

Maybe today you find yourself at a loss for prayer words too. Here are three simple threadbare prayers you can borrow when you don’t know what to pray.

Lord, Show me grace: One prayer I have whispered over and over comes from Psalm 6:2 which says, “Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing; heal me O Lord, for my bones are troubled.” Even during seasons of brokenness, I have taken comfort in knowing that my prayers are more than mere words in the ears of the Lord. He hears my cry for help and puts me back together. I have found this prayer such a blessing not only for my own heart but to also speak over others who I know are struggling. Slipping their name in place of “me” has been not only easy but a reminder that I’m not the only one who needs grace. We all do.

Lord, I will draw my strength from you: Prayer is how I keep in constant connection with the Lord. It allows me to draw on his strength especially on the days that life presses hard on me. Even if I don’t feel like praying, this prayer based on Ephesians 6:10 reminds me to “…be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.” I love that this prayer deepens my trust so I can resist the enemy and experience the powerful presence of my Savior who is always victorious.

Lord I don’t know what to pray but you do. Sometimes I don’t have words to express my own prayer needs. I’m grateful that the Lord doesn’t have to ask. How do I know this for sure?
In the book of Romans 8:26 (ESV) we read, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” The prayers he prays are deep knowing prayers. And so I simply say, “Lord, I don’t know what to pray, but you do.”  There is freedom and comfort in knowing that if I can’t call up the words, he is not speechless and his prayers are always filled with hope.

As I pray these and other threadbare prayers, perhaps the biggest and most significant work God does is truly unseen. He bends down and listens to me while strengthening my heart and filling it with his grace again and again—even when I don’t have fine or fancy words.


Life sometimes brings difficult situations or circumstances that can leave us feeling run-down, drained, worn-out, and threadbare. These are the times we most desperately need prayer, but they can also be the times we simply don’t have the words to form a prayer.

It’s why I simply can’t end this post without a shoutout for  Stacey’s beautiful new book, Threadbare Prayer, where she shares 100 simple yet heartfelt devotions to help guide us on these days we don’t know what to pray.



Stacey Thacker is an author, blogger, speaker, and believer who loves God’s Word and connecting with women. Her passion is to encourage women in their walks with God and equip them to study the Bible. She created the blog community Mothers of Daughters and now blogs on her site, StaceyThacker.com.

Thacker is the author of seven books including Hope for the Weary Mom: Let God Meet You in the Mess and has written a series of Bible studies, The Girlfriends’ Guide to the Bible. Her latest book is Threadbare Prayer: Prayers for Hearts that Feel Hidden, Hurt, or Hopeless.

She worked with Campus Crusade for Christ for five years before becoming a full-time mom to four daughters. Her family lives on the Orlando, FL area.

Visit Stacey Thacker online at staceythacker.com. She can also be found on Facebook (@OfficialStaceyThacker)Twitter (@staceythacker), and Instagram (@staceythacker).

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