When you don’t feel like praying, how can you still savor God’s presence?
One of the most challenging tasks as a parent is asking a two-year-old to pray.
Close your eyes.
We’re talking to Jesus now. Come sweetie, close your eyes.
Wiggles. Shaking the head.
We pray anyways. Amen.
My five year-old-son asks, “Why do we have to close our eyes anyways?”.
I stop to think. Of course, we pray in all different ways: sitting, standing, walking, singing, driving too.
Why do we pray with our eyes closed?
The best thing I could think of at the time was this : kissing.
Do you notice something, TJ — when Daddy and Mommy kiss?
We close our eyes.
To Let Our Souls Breathe
I didn’t say this to TJ at the time, but we also close our eyes —
— when we cry and tears run down,
— when we bite into a crisp strawberry and savor summer sweetness,
— when we laugh so hard our belly aches and we can’t remember when we last did.
When we want to remember a tender moment and lean into a friend’s embrace, we release ourselves in that moment.
And let our souls breathe.
Savoring God’s Presence
We can still savor God’s presence even when we don’t feel like praying.
One way I do this is by the simple act of closing my eyes — whether for a fleeting moment or longer.
I breathe, “Oh, God” and close my eyes in frustration. Without any words, I am stepping into God’s presence.
“Come near to God and he will come near to you.” James 4:8
I whisper his Name, “Jesus, you know me” and close my eyes to lean into the arms of Him who loves and understands me.
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way (including the difficulty of prayer), just as we are–yet was without sin.” Hebrews 7:25 (parenthesis mine)
I rely on the comfort that God hasn’t left or forsaken me. Even in my silence.
“If we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.” 2 Timothy 2:13
I sink into the couch or lie on my bed with my hands open and close my eyes. I circle my thoughts to one thing: God is praying for me.
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. Romans 8:26
When you don’t feel like praying, all is not lost.
Jesus doesn’t hold it against you.
In fact, He is carrying you close in His heart — whispering with eyes closed — more tenderly than we may dare to believe.
He is praying for you and for me.
How is God encouraging you in prayer?
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I’m so glad I’m reading this just before bed. He’s encouraging me to run to Him right when “it” all hits. That running to Him shouldn’t hold expectation for Him to take it all away. When I do run to Him, He will overwhelm me with love and a sweetness in it all. When I don’t have words, it’s okay to just be in His silence.
Your post today really helped to widen and deepen what He’s taking me through right now. Thank you for Romans 8:26. I’ll be meditating on it before I fall asleep.
Love to you Bonnie.
Jeri, you’re walking through a season where you are having to practice this kind of praying… where you can just close your eyes.. without any words and know He is right.there.with.you. Love to you, sweet friend.
I have the same issue with my boys when we pray at night – why? or how? or just plain refusal. Sometimes I start for them and let them fill in the blanks, “Dear Lord, Thank you for _____” – and often the answer is something like fire trucks! We also recite the Lord’s Prayer and even our two year old can do that. But, I don’t know how much either boy understands. When I wonder if any of it is doing any good, I remind myself that these years may be more about getting into the habit of prayer, thinking that is the normal thing to do before going to sleep, than actually coming up with structured sentences. My hope is that one day, when the words and thoughts are mature, (and Mom and Dad aren’t there to prompt) the prayers will just pour out. Thanks for making me thing more about this today.
Courtney, we are living parallel lives as mommies. 😉 I think we have the power of modeling more than instructing in the area of prayer. I know my kids are watching my face, my reaction, so I take a deep breath, close my eyes… (whisper, God give me patience!) and try to smile as I show them how prayer looks and sounds like (their eyes are open of course!). LOL. *hugs*
Hi, When my children were small and now that I have five small grands, they often balked at praying; but I started singing Jesus Loves Me except I put their names in there and they love that then often feel like praying. GOD IS GOOD!
Frances — THANK YOU for sharing that with us!! I love that. I will try that today!
Oh, thanks Bonnie!
Just this week, I AGAIN watched a YouTube clip from a John Piper sermon on prayer….the points were many, but a main one was that when we don’t pray we rob ourselves of blessings! Another is that OUR PRAYERS SHAPE, AND CHANGE the world!
A small group has been gathering at our church on Monday eve, for just an hour, to pray for global missions, unreached people groups, local missions and the workers in the fields…sometimes it’s just 2 or 3, but He promised that was all it takes!
Pray away! Eyes open, or closed…it matters not to Him…JUST DO IT!
That’s wonderful, Marina!
Knowing that Jesus is praying for me gives me great comfort. There are more times then I care to admit that I feel so burdened down even to pray.,, or my prayer is a long sigh with my eyes closed, looking to Him. So great is His love for me. Oh how I love Jesus…
Miriam, thanks for sharing. Beautiful His love for us is very great. Even our burdens cannot keep His heart and prayers away from us.
[…] Read more about creating space for God at Faith Barista today: When You Don’t Feel Like Praying […]
I love how the physical things we do can profoundly impact the spiritual. Just closing our eyes for a moment takes our focus away from ourselves and our circumstances. These small things add up!
And I’m often reminded that I’m the one who will convince myself that there’s some reason why I shouldn’t come to Jesus. Jesus just says “Come!” Thanks for this shot of faith Bonnie!
Our flesh fights it. That’s for sure. I’m comforted hearing– as you say — Jesus saying, “Come!”. “Small things add up.” Thanks, Ed!
I love the thought of when I can’t pray that Jesus is interceding for me.
I have needed that this week. I haven’t been able to put words to what I am feeling, so I haven’t written in my journal my “Dear Jesus” letters.
Dear Jesus journal. That’s a great idea, katie!
Well it just irks me when I feel the urge of the Holy Spirit and I am in the middle of something and I don’t pray at that time. Well, minutes, hours later, He brings it to my mind and I think, why didn’t I pray when He first urged me? My goodness. I then pray and feel so much better. I couldn’t get through a day without prayer. I need it and it makes me feel so much better. I love talking to God and waiting on Him even though sometimes it takes a while to get an answer but it is in His time, not mine. God bless everyone and have a blessed day. God’s love to everyone. Chris
God bless you, too Chris!
I love that you compared closing our eyes in prayer to kissing with your eyes closed. Never, in my life, have I thought about it in that way. But it’s perfect! There are times when I just have to close my eyes breath in and out breathy prayers because that’s all I can do. Ya know, those moments are usually the most refeshing prayers..
It feels good to just breathe into it. Closing eyes. All kinds of kisses too. Comfort as well as joy.
What a beautiful post! I love how you teach your child to pray and the lessons we all get to learn in that process.
Lately, there’s seems to be so much on my plate that I find myself distracted while praying. I am learning to trust the Lord with my circumstances but there are still so many areas over which I have no control. It takes a while to give it ALL over to Him. But I’m doing a bit better as I look back at how I used to be.
However, I find that He is showing me each day how much He cares and loves me. He does this through a child at school or a comment from a parent or an opportunity to share His love with a person who is hurting. And then I remember and thank Him for that moment.
Blessings and love,
I’m so glad God is using others to reach out and encourage you. You are going through an amazing time of change — you are courageous and thinking of you just inspires me. There is nothing you can’t do without Jesus and you’re showing us that is true through your story, Debbie.
Today I whispered a half-hearted, “Help!” in prayer. I know God heard me. I wanted to cry out, but it is like I don’t have it in me. I know God still heard my prayer. I know He will answer. That is how He is encouraging me in prayer. Sometimes all we can do is whisper help, but that is the key that turns the forces of heaven loose to work on our behalf. All we have to do is draw near. My favorite verse this week has been James 4:8 by the way!
Yay! I love James 4:8 too! 🙂 *hugs* Melinda. Keep whispering — even half-hearted — God’s hearing with His whole heart.
I so much appreciate your reflection on *savoring* the moment by closing our eyes. So beautiful.
Such a blessing to have you here, Amy. I know your moments are precious… away from your writing to visit here. 🙂 *hugs*
I am finding such refreshment in your writing, Bonnie. Truly.
Rich blessings, my friend.
Oh, how I needed this today! I feel, deep inside, the groanings of the Holy Spirit when all that I can say is “Help me, God!”.
Thanks for a post I needed to hear. It was soothing to my soul.
Your visit blessed my heart, Kim!
Today’s article was perfect. After having my son change the front brakes on my truck, then the back the following week and then a few days later change the fluid in the differential and still not knowing what the mysterious thumping is when I back out of the garage is being caused by…..
I walked out to the garage this morning to take my granddaughter to school and low and behold I have a flat tire on the front left. The truck is in a very tight spot because I am sharing space with two other vehicles, mainly motorcycles; one of which is totally immobile. My son could not change the tire because he can’t jack it up because there is no room and he didn’t want to damage the rim by moving the truck out of the garage. Plus my driveway is on a slant and my son was already late for work trying to jack it up in the tight spot using two different jacks. (not at the same time!) I told him to go to work. SO…I went upstairs, read your article and closed my eyes in prayer.
I am very thankful that the flat did not take place while I was driving my granddaughter and her friend to school. I am thankful I was not in my pajamas on the side of the road. So, I am going to take a shower, get dressed, call Big O Tires to tell them I am bringing in my truck with the flat tire which I bought from them brand new a few months ago, and then call AAA to have it towed. And praise Jesus for another day of craziness with the truck, which He has allowed me to have for the past ten years.
Thank you God for protecting Christine and her granddaughter. Thank you for her heart that see your hand in even the craziness with the truck. Help her as she gets her truck fixed! 🙂
Very insightful thoughts about having closed eyes.
Good to have you here, Dana!
We close our eyes to let our souls breathe. I love that imagery, Bonnie. It captures the sense of intimacy and peace that we get when we sit down to spend time with Abba Father.
I wrote today about my preacher from years ago who would pray on his knees. It’s not something I do very often, but a habit I would like to do more, at least when I’m at home during my quiet time.
Oh, that is a great practice to share, Lisa. Something happens when we get on our knees. It’s amazing to see our spirit react to the posture of our body. Can’t wait to read your words.
This is a nice shot of peace this morning. Savoring His presence and the way He moves in our lives… Thanks Bonnie.
Hey, Jason! Always wondering to get your encouragement… and our words of wisdom. Will make my way for a re-fill at your blogl. 😉
YES. I am so thankful that when I can only breathe the words “Oh God. . . ” that Jesus packages that whisper up into a bold plea at the throne of God. Thank you for your words this morning 🙂
Thanks for taking time to pull up a chair and share, Jane! 😉
Kissing. I love that picture for drawing near to God. Thanks for your post. Smiles here.
Lucy Ann, so sweet to have you here. Smile here. 😉
So good…so very good. I had never thought about how we close our eyes to savor, and relating that to praying. What an incredible thought! This has drawn me closer to the heart of God today…thank you!
Mary Beth, enjoy as you savor God today. 😉
Such good examples of when we close our eyes. Makes sense!
And I’ve always loved that Hebrews verse you shared. Such truth. Thank you, Bonnie, for spreading that truth to today. (And thank you, as always, for hosting us here!)
Carloline, thanks for sharing in the jam. Love savoring your words. Your heart.
This was so perfect for where I am now along my journey. God is encouraging me to faithfully trust him completely. Even when I can’t pray I too close my eyes and echo His Holy Name…
Joan, how wonderful it is to hear about where you are in the journey!
Very powerful, Bonnie! Now I need to learn to be still long enough to feel God’s presence in the silence!
Another thought is that even if we can’t put a voice to our prayers, God hears our thoughts and delights in being with us as we delight in His presence.
Blessings to you!
Julie, it’s so worth it. 😉 Blessings to you,too!
Beautiful Bonnie. So right you are.
Sometimes I’m rushing about trying to “pray on the go” and yet, closing my eyes would mean I would actually have to slow down and focus on HIm. And that would be a very good thing.
Melissa — I loved enjoying time with you. I think we closed our eyes, talking of all that’s ahead. And here we are closing our eyes, for just a moment, sharing a visit. *hugs*
“Releasing ourselves into the moment” into His presence, yes, this!
The intimacy of prayer like a kiss indeed.
Well said, Bonnie.
Love your poetic words. Even in a comment. Oozing poetry. You. 😉
“He is carrying you close in His heart — whispering with eyes closed” Yes! Love this!
Drawing close through eyes closed….dreaming at night during sleep or during the day when I just need perspective. Savoring a moment or just wanting to linger in worship.
For me, it’s whatever it takes to get me to worship. Shutting my eyes helps me shut out the world around me and savor, embrace whatever it is God is sharing with me. Thanks for posting this!
Thanks for sharing and taking the time, Katie!
What an incredibly comforting post to read at the end of a very hectic day! Beautiful, just beautiful!!
Aw…. how comforting to have your visit, Patricia. Hope you had a good night’s sleep. 😉
Thanks Bonnie. This reminds me that God hears our hearts even when the words won’t come. He’s there listening when we don’t know how or what to pray for ourselves or for others.
Beautiful thoughts, Tracey!
I love this! Closing our eyes to sense and savor Him. Beautiful!
Beautiful to savor together, Sandy! 🙂
This is a beautiful post. It is something I really needed to here. I have been struggling lately. Thank you so much. Blessings, Stephanie
So happy you’re here, Stephanie. Blessings right where you are! 🙂 Thanks for sharing.
What beautiful words you shared here. I just came over from the 31 dayers to read what others are blogging, and I think I have just found a new favorite in yours! Prayer is such a wondrous gift. God has been showing me a lot these past few years about standing in the gap prayer. Right now, I’m about to go through some medical treatments that could make me fearful if he wasn’t telling me each day that he has me covered. Under his Ps 91 feathers. With his angels. Surrounded in his care. Two days ago he showed me again the promises that His glory is rising over us… today he led me to a scripture that talks about pots that will have “holy to the Lord” inscribed on them in the new Jerusalem, and gave me the thought that since my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit I should pray that this part of my body receiving treatments (pelvic area) is holy to the Lord and no harm can come to any of my organs etc. No side effects can touch me as he covers me and seals me as his own. What a great covering is his word as well. The last two nights I’ve been extraordinarily exhausted from all this…could do nothing more than just close my eyes and try to listen as I put on a Bible DVD and let it play. I know I wasn’t focusing completely as I wanted to, but still…the word was going out over me… like Jesus praying for us as you said… and I could feel Him restoring my energy. The word is mighty as a sword…
Blessings to you today! — Pam
prayer with eyes closed, like kissing with eyes closed… love it.. how intimate! how expectant!
Jason @ Connecting to Impact sent me your way via his weekly picks. I really enjoyed this read, I was actually just telling Jason yesterday, how hard its been to walk with Him as of late because sometimes it feels that I am all alone and I wonder if I am doing it all right. God bless.