What do you pray when you don’t know what to say?

Part 2 of an Interview Stacey Thacker,

Author of Threadbare Prayer

What do you pray when the words just won’t come? When you’ve been on your knees in prayer and your jeans start to show wear, what else can you possibly say? Sometimes we can be worn to the point we simply don’t have the words to express our pain, worry or fears. Those are our threadbare prayers.

Stacey Thacker started writing her own threadbare prayers in her journal during her Bible study time. The prayers were very personal, but as she began to share them on her blog and social media, her friends and readers encouraged her to turn them into her next book. Throughout the pages of Threadbare Prayer: Prayers for Hearts that Feel Hidden, Hurt, or Hopeless (Abingdon Press), readers will see glimpses of some of the authors most threadbare moments. Through these 100 short but heartfelt devotions readers will find inspiration and words to pray during difficult times.

Q: How is it possible to pray when you don’t have words?

One of my favorite verses is found in Romans 8:26 and it says that “...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.” The Spirit knows our hearts, and we can trust Him to “tell the Father” on our behalf. That gives me freedom to know if I can’t call up the words, He is not speechless. The threadbare prayer in this verse, “Lord, I don’t know what to pray, but you do,” says it all.

Q: Threadbare prayer happens in the wilderness. Is there any way to prepare for those wilderness times?

I think the best way to prepare is to be in the Word, pray, and find deep fellowship with other believers. I have also learned that nothing prepares you for the wilderness like the “other” wilderness times.

When I lost my dad, God was preparing me to walk through the valley of the shadow of death with my husband. So even when we are threadbare, we need to take those wilderness times and listen to what the Lord is saying to our threadbare hearts.

Q: What are some of your favorite Bible verses that spoke to you during times spent in the wilderness?

Psalm 23:1 – “Lord you are my shepherd and I lack nothing” was the first.

2 Chronicles 20:12 – “Lord, I don’t know what to do but my eyes are on you” is one I say over and over.

Psalm 116:2 – “Because he bends down to listen I will pray as long as I have breath.” (Lord I will breathe out constant prayers, because you are listening.)

Psalm 91:1 – “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.’” (Lord, you are my secret dwelling place.)

Q: How is the best way to minister to a friend or family member while they are going through a threadbare time? Is it better to try to offer encouragement or simply a listening ear? 

Prayer and presence are so encouraging when possible. You don’t have to say anything really. Just pray, lend the strength of your presence, and do simple things for them. Bring them a coffee, a meal, watch their kids, send a note. I also think this is the type of book you can give to a friend who is hurting. You can mark a prayer and say, “I’m praying this for you.” It will mean so much.

Q: Could you say a prayer for someone reading this interview to help them find the words they need?

Psalm 68:19 says, “Praise the Lord; praise God our savior! For each day he carries us in his arms.” Lord, in the midst of all that comes against us, remind us that your power and your promises persist as well.

We may be:



battle weary.

You are:




Lord help us to remember that when we need shelter you cover us. When we need daily bread you are able to rain it down from heaven. If we need a defender, you come quickly to protect us. It doesn’t matter what we need, you can provide it. It is amazing to think that you do all of this while you tenderly carry us in your arms.

Focusing on your daily care is such a comfort to our threadbare hearts because nobody cares for us like you do, Jesus.

So we will praise you Lord, because you carry us every single day.


Visit Stacey Thacker online at staceythacker.com. She can also be found on Facebook (@OfficialStaceyThacker), Twitter (@staceythacker), and Instagram (@staceythacker).