One of the great challenges in life for people, I think, is our need for finding the right ‘words’ to describe our thoughts, our feelings, our intentions.

Words are, in fact, everywhere we look.
On billboards, in newspapers, on television screens,
Yes, even smart phones and certainly computers are tools for creating ‘words.’
Have you noticed? Words are everywhere we look.

The dictionary defines a word as ‘a single distinct meaningful element of speech or writing ….’

Words exist in our world, whether they’re written down or not.
In fact, in our relationship with God, words sometimes communicate,
Even if they are unspoken.

When I was a little boy, my family went to church three times a week.

Sunday morning, of course.
But we went to church on Sunday nights, too.
And, we rarely missed Wednesday night prayer meeting and bible study.

On many Wednesday nights, when I was growing up,
While sitting on an old, wooden church pew,
In a tiny little church,
In the neighborhood where I lived,
In the town where I was born,
Wednesday night bible study and prayer meetings would happen.

As a little boy, I wasn’t good at estimating the size of a crowd.

But, what must have been a small handful of people would gather in that tiny church to pray.
The preacher would first deliver what he must have thought was a ‘short’ sermon.
(As I recall, his definition of “short” and my understanding of the meaning of that word as a little boy were almost certainly two different timetables.)

At the conclusion of his message,
It was always ‘prayer request’ time.
Up to this point in the service, the only person talking had been the preacher.
But now, ordinary ‘civilians’ and saints like my little grandma,
And tire store owner Fred Fahnister (who always led the singing,)
And just plain ole run-of-the-mill sinners like my dad
Were invited to verbalize their prayer requests.

So all those gathered would collectively pray for the needs of the group.
No one wrote the requests on a blackboard.
(My little granny wrote those requests in a small notebook she kept. I asked her once, why
she wrote stuff down, and she said it was so she could remember to pray for the
requests later. I’m pretty sure my granny prayed almost all the time, even when she wasn’t at church on Wednesday nights.)

She was that kind of Christian, if you know what I mean.)

Occasionally, someone would verbalize an ‘unspoken’ request. And I remember wondering, even as a little boy, how something not spoken could count as a legitimate request. I mean, how could my granny write down a request in her little book, so she could pray for it later, if that request hadn’t even been verbalized? What was she supposed to be praying for?

The answer, although not obvious to me as child of course, was: God knew, already.

Romans 8:26 says, “And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.” God knows before I ask. He doesn’t need to write it down in a book so He won’t forget.

And so,
While sitting on an old, wooden church pew,
In a tiny little church,
In the neighborhood where I lived,
In the town where I was born and raised,

During the course of those years I went to church on Wednesday nights for bible study and prayer, I discovered a great truth: that Words could actually be unspoken, and still count for something important.

Now that I’m a grown man, I know that some of the most significant requests I’ve never heard were unspoken, and silent to everyone but God and a run-of-the-mill-sinner like me; God knows before I ask. He doesn’t need to write the unspokens of my life down in a book so He won’t forget.

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