worship: why silence might be one of the best ways to pray



Do words fail you sometimes? Maybe get stuck on the tongue, swallowed back like tears? We think language should be simple, just one person conversing with another, as easy as breathing, fluid as air.

But there are moments when we don’t know quite what to say to one another, never mind speak to God. Prayer can stall into silence. This may seem like we’re not praying at all, but I think silence is actually one of the deepest mediums for prayer and a great way to align ourselves with the divine.

During times when our words are stilled, we find other ways to communicate with God. Tears and inaudible, deep-seated groans of the soul still rise as incense before Him. Silence makes space for restful, worshipful contemplation.

There is no language, no tongue, no hindrance to communication with God. Our very posture speaks volumes to Him, as does our inner ache, sadness and pain.

What about worship? Doesn’t that require words?  Ideally, we want to express our heartfelt feelings before our Lord in a vocal way, though worship is myriad things and more of a lifestyle decision than a song.

God sees our hearts and hears their silent cries—our intentions and desires are laid bare before Him before we breathe a word or sing a note.

If, like me, the season you are going through has made voiced prayer hard to do, words failing to form due to the lump in your throat or heaviness of heart, please know that God understands it all, sees into the depths of your soul and is busily answering before you feel able to utter a single word.


Let our language spring as sweetly

languid as summer sky, lazy on

the tongue, and soaring like sea spray

We’re wanting an upbeat life and 

to swim together, like sunlight still

aches to shine with worship, whispering

music like a smooth honey symphony




You and I can rest in Love’s soft shade, rest our weary souls before God and know we are being loved, seen and heard. In the shelter of His safe, protective love we grow strong again.

“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in him I will trust’…. He will cover you with his feathers and under his wings you shall take refuge” ~ Psalm 91: 1-2,4

Love’s soft shade

Our lonely spirits can thrive

and shine by Love’s soft shade

For every life has dark garden

vines from earth’s root fall, but

warm, gentle Eden rain cycles

like sacred river song beneath

light, wandering wind harmony

of deep fresh air we breathe




We can communicate with God through silent tears and a broken heart. Maybe, like Ann Lamott, the only prayers you feel capable of right now are of the “Help, Thanks, Wow” kind, and that’s okay. He understands. Start where you are and a flow of words will eventually come.

20 thoughts on “worship: why silence might be one of the best ways to pray

  1. “Prayer can stall into silence” yet God is “busily answering before you feel able to utter a single word.” The sweet truth of this melts the lump in my throat today. Thank you, dear Joy, for embodying the empowering truths you offer us here. Needed this today.

    • Laurie, I am humbly grateful you were able to find some solace here, my friend. Truth is, we all need an Aaron and a Hur to stand in the gap and lift up our fainting arms when we grow weary of battling on. May the thought of your needs even now being shared by others with our Abba Father bring a greater measure of rest and peace to your soul. xo

  2. So true! Just wordless wonder and appreciation can be a prayer of delight and praise. Your poems are wonderful too. I love these lines: Let our language spring as sweetly / languid as summer sky, lazy on/
    the tongue, and soaring like sea spray. If only!

    • Deborah, how dear your clear love of language and mastery of words are to me, because it’s in everything you share and write yourself. During a week where my limited energy and attention has necessarily been diverted elsewhere, and poetic words seem to be failing me, I am grateful for the gift of your sweet appreciation. Bless you for being here, friend! xo

  3. Dear Joy, Your poetry always reaches deep into the cracks and crevices of my soul. And then this speaks volumes to where my journey is bringing me: “Silence makes space for restful, worshipful contemplation.” When the noise of the world, and even my own thoughts are stilled, there rises a new kind of worship in my heart. Thank you for expressing what I am feeling these days. And thank you for sharing from your own walking with the Lord. Much Hugs and Prayers and love, my Friend! xoxo

    • Dear Bettie, that’s always the hope and intention! The poet in me craves a place for her words to touch “deep into the cracks and crevices” of a reader’s soul. But I am even more thankful to have somehow been given the right words to convey something of what you are feeling these days. How wonderful is that?! God makes sure He touches others via the words we share, words which sit silent within, rising just when their time is right to shine. And we cannot help but speak out of our faith walk as He gives us utterance. Your prayers remain a needful and lovely offering to us at this challenging time. Thank you, sweet friend! Sending love and grateful hugs to you. xoxo

    • Nancie, I’m glad you can relate to times like this and gain peace from knowing your myriad kinds of prayers are treasured and heard by God. I’ve only read the “Help!” part of Ann Lamott’s book, because it was an e-book and I mistakenly thought it had all three parts combined, but I hope to read the rest one day! So blessed you stopped by, my friend. xo

    • Michael, I’m glad you can identify with this kind of prayer. It’s often of the deepest nature, isn’t it? A specific calling given and renewed in different directions would certainly count as a life changing event! Thank YOU for being here, my friend, for encouraging me with your comments and being willing to share these words with your readers. x ❤

      • Me too, Michael. Slow is good for practising Contemplative Prayer! I believe God leads each one of us on a walk of faith we can truly relate to and engage with, for He alone knows just what will speak best to our hearts and draw them into close communion with Him. ❤

  4. Thank you, dear Joy. I love how you describe worship as a “lifestyle decision.” So true. It’s so amazing that God knows our innermost thoughts, desires, and sighs without our even expressing them, isn’t it? Sometimes we just have no words, as you say. I have often in life just cried, “Help me, God!” And sometimes I could only groan. Romans 8:26 has often given me comfort. The Message reads, “Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans.” It’s such a precious verse, isn’t it? Love and hugs!

    • Dear Trudy, I came to faith at a time and place where worship was mainly thought of as hands raised high to heaven, revealing deep feeling, speaking in tongues and tearful singing. It took me a few years to see that not all denominations/churches/Christians worshipped that way and there is no set practice as far as God is concerned. What matters most is a matter of the heart’s disposition before God, and it shows itself best in surrender, in lifestyle choices and decisions, being led and guided by Holy Spirit. I LOVE the verse you’ve shared from The Message version, because it’s so powerful and oh so powerfully true! Love and hugs to you, too. xox

    • Vashti, I love your wise and encouraging words here: “God makes it easy for us. He knows all things, so whether we express ourselves eloquently or not He will read our hearts and minds and our prayers will be answered.” Yes, indeed! Bless you, sweet friend. May those words bring solace, hope and comfort to you too. 🙂 xo

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