When There Are No Words

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“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” Jeremiah 29:12
When tragedy strikes, there are no words.  The feeling of helplessness can be overwhelming.  The pain felt for those involved is paralyzing.  It is almost unspeakable. As a result, people shy away because they are afraid they will say the wrong thing.
The truth is, there are words, and they are simple.  “I love you.  I’m praying for you.”  Those are all the words you need to say.  What people need in the midst of tragedy is your presence.  Your support.  They need you to pray for them when they don’t know what to pray.  When their grief and their pain is so extreme, they can barely breathe they need you to do it for them.  They need you to stand in the gap and pray for them.  They need you to hold them in their arms and love them.  They need your presence.
When my nephew died four years ago the first words I said to his Mom at the hospital were “Can I hug you?”  She fell in my arms and cried.  I didn’t utter another word.  As we moved through the days that followed, I talked little.  I hugged much.  There weren’t words I could ever say that would bring her son back, but I could hold her while she cried.  I could be present for her.
And while I held her I prayed.  I prayed for her and my brother. I prayed for God to comfort them.  I prayed for my niece as she walked through losing her brother.  I prayed for them to feel His presence.  I prayed for God to give them strength for the days and years ahead.  I asked God to show me how I could help, what could I do?  I stood in the gap for them when they couldn’t pray.
I prayed, then I prayed some more.
In the midst of tragedy, it isn’t your words people will remember, it is your presence.  It is your prayers they need, your specific and passionate prayers as you cry out to God for them on their behalf.  God is in the midst of tragedy:
“Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4
Tragedy has occurred in the lives of dear friends.  There are no words to describe the depth of pain it has left in their lives.  My message was simple when I called, “I love you.  I’m praying for you. What can I do?”
Even though there is nothing physically I can do, I can pray.  I can continue to pray for them as they move through the days ahead.  I can be present for them, for their loved ones, for their church.
I am praying they find God in the midst of this tragedy.  I am praying He reveals himself to them.  I am praying they feel His presence in the midst of this darkness.  I am praying He comforts their broken hearts.  I am praying continuously for all of the lives which have been affected by this terrible loss. I am praying, and I won’t stop.
When there are no words, there is prayer.

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