The Language of Prayer


Grayson with his father, Len, and Dr. Buchman

Romans 8:22-28

In 2010, Grayson Clamp was born without auditory nerves.  Grayson was a miracle baby having survived open heart surgery in his first few days of life. Grayson came to the family as a foster baby with severe health complications. The Clamps felt the call of the Saviour to work with needy children.  After fostering several, God put Grayson in their life for good. For the first three years of his life he could not hear, not even a sound. But lacking the ability to hear did not stop him from communicating with his new parents, Len and Nicole. As any parent will tell you, so much can be said without words. After three long years and a medical breakthrough, University of North Carolina doctor, Craig Buchman, performed a successful auditory nerve implant—the first of its kind in the United States! (For further information on Grayson read here.)

Communicating with Our Father 

This amazing story illustrates some active principles in how we communicate with God. His Word lets us know that spoken prayers are not the only way we communicate with Him.  Every parent knows that they are able to communicate with a child even before the child is able to converse. And many times before we are even vocalizing a prayer, we are already communing with our Loving Father.  Consider the following ways we talk to God, before we even talk to God.

Entering His Presence

There is nothing like having your new baby look up into your face. We recently had our fifth child, Noah. Although it took him a few weeks to be able to focus on my face, there is no doubt we have had conversations that used no words. I look in his eyes and he in mine and we talk. There is nothing like it! It is daddy time, and it is priceless. By God’s Spirit, we have the same opportunity with our Abba Father. In Psalm 100, we are invited to “come before His presence” and in Hebrews 4 to “come boldly unto the throne of grace.” He wants to spend time with his children and He loves when we just sit in His presence. No words. Just face time.

It was Mary’s “sitting at Jesus’ feet” that Jesus said was the one needful thing.  It is the searching moments of the heart when “He that searcheth the hearts” searches yours. (Romans 8:27, Psalm 139:1) It is the non-verbal communication with our Father, because He already knows what we need.

Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. Matthew 6:8


When We Don’t Know What to Say

Have you ever had a friend or loved one with a terminal illness? I have had a few.  How do you pray? Simple, right? Pray for healing.  Problem: sometimes God allows physical infirmities to show our weakness and his strength.

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  2 Corinthians 12:9

And then there is 1 John 5:14 that says that we must “pray according to His will.” It may not be His will to heal. Tough spot. But then James 4:2 says, “ye have not, because ye ask not.” And we don’t want to miss God’s healing because we didn’t ask.  Frankly, I sometimes don’t know what words to pray.  All I have is a groaning within me that God would work on their behalf.  And He hears the groan!

Everybody has pain. Cancer comes to the saved and unsaved. Matter of fact, even all creation is groaning in travail and pain. (Romans 8:22)  Job said, “Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.” And again, “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.” (Job 5:7, 14:1)  Christians have trouble and groan too.  Why? Because we have corrupted bodies. (Romans 8:23)

Good people get bad diseases. I have known godly people to get meningitis, multiple-sclerosis, lupus, brain cancer—just to name a few. Some were healed temporarily and some were healed permanently by going home to Heaven. At the time, I just didn’t know which were which.  I did a lot of groaning.  But God sorted it all out.  Think of what the Spirit of God does for us.

Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Romans 8:26

We groan and He groans.  But he sighs before the throne of God.  This is the throne of grace, where we can “find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)  And we haven’t even gotten a word out yet.  It is no wonder we are urged to “pray without ceasing” in 1 Thessalonians 5:17.  Even when we are not speaking to our Heavenly Father, we can be in constant communication.

When Words are Formed

Without the ability to hear, Grayson Clamp was instructed in Cued Speech, a form of sign language that develops the ability to formulate words. After his auditory nerve implants, he heard his father for the first time and was able to verbalize in return! 

It seems that there is a progression of prayer, from non-verbal to verbal language.  A problem then a pang, and eventually a petition.  Good news is that He already knows the problem and He already hears the pangs before we make our petitions known. (Philippians 4:6) But this should not hinder us from verbalizing our prayers. Consider the three-fold admonition of Matthew 7:7:

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

Prayer is not informing God of our problems, it is acknowledging that we need God to intervene in our problems.  It is our declaration of dependence. Abraham Lincoln once said, “I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.”

Have you ever considered the promise of Romans 8:28?

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

The connection is to the context of our prayer language with God.  We groan and the Spirit groans for us. We pray “according to His will” and the Spirit of God “maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”  And then and only then do all things work together for good.  This is a prayer promise. This is the language of prayer.

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