Pause + Pray

Living with a Heavy Heart


In dark times we sometimes struggle to find words not only to pray but to describe what we are going through to anyone. As Parker Palmer wrote about depression in his book Let Your Life Speak, “Depression demands that we reject simplistic answers, both ‘religious’ and ‘scientific,’ and learn to embrace mystery, something our culture resists. Mystery surrounds every deep experience of the human heart.” In prayer we often come face-to-face with our own mysterious reality. It might leave us feeling breathless or empty. But in prayer, may we be comforted that we are bringing to God more than just our words; we are bringing to God our hearts. God is vast and compassionate enough to hold this mystery tenderly.


On days when I don’t have words to pray
I trust you hold my heart in your tender, loving hands.
I trust you see every detail—every crack, every shard, every gap—
in this brokenness I carry.
I trust you receive this dark mystery that I struggle to contain or explain.
I have no words, yet my heart is yours.


What within your heart or life feels like “too much” to surrender to God? A “broken and contrite heart”from  Psalm 51:17might actually be the beginning of prayernot the end. You might struggle to explain the darkness you carry, but instead of getting frustrated in not being able to find the words, close your eyes and imagine yourself humbly handing your heart to God.

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