Before I headed out the door Wednesday morning, I was halted by the sound of my dog whimpering and crying. Although he cannot speak, his whimper is enough to get my attention. I know my dog and he knows me. I know that something is wrong when he whines and that’s all he had to do to tell me he was hurt. Apparently, he had failed at catching a raccoon or some other animal that was not afraid to put up a fight. That’s another story for another time. Here’s the point: he didn’t have to use words to convey that he was hurt and I know him well enough to understand what he needed.
Did you know that God understands when you are hurt, even when you can’t express it in words? He knows you like a shepherd knows his sheep (John 10:1-18). And sometimes you experience such a level of pain that you can barely get the words out of your mouth to express it. If you are a believer, rest assured: because the Lord knows you, your tears and whimpers are plenty to get His attention. He knows what you need, even when you can’t tell Him audibly. In 1 Samuel 1, we find Hannah doing this. She prayed a prayer without words. She was so shaken by emotional pain that the writer says, “Hannah was speaking in her heart; only her lips moved, and her voice was not heard” (v. 13).
Similarly, king David was no stranger to intense emotional pain. In Psalm 5:1, he prayed, “Give ear to my words, O LORD; consider my groaning.” The Hebrew word for groaning there means, “a low humming sound.” This conveys that David was in such pain that all he could express to the Lord was a few low mumbles. And although Hannah and David never knew the apostle Paul, it appears that they agreed with the words he wrote in Romans 8:24, “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.”
Certainly, we should pray audibly as often as we can, but we can be confident that the Lord hears us in those times of such pain when all we can produce is a whimper.
Editor’s Note: Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the editorial opinion of the Murray Ledger & Times.