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  • Writer's pictureMarnie Hammar

The Unexpected Gift of Finding God's Whisper in a Soul-Weary Prayer

By Jennifer Sakata



Hear Him Louder Essay Series: Jennifer's Story


I arrived bleary-eyed. Fatigued by the grief that hangs on a daughter losing her father to cancer. 


I’d only met my dad seven years before, and although I remained grateful for God’s kindness in allowing us to meet later in life, I stood at the sanctuary doors paralyzed by a barrage of questions. Why now? Why couldn’t we have had more time? Will I see him in eternity with Jesus? 


God’s response to my supplications sounded more like the narrator of a Charlie Brown re-run than the Good Shepherd who knows me intimately and carries my sorrows. Soul-weary, I was out of words and deaf to His voice as I muttered plaintiff prayers that seemed to go nowhere. 


Beyond the wood-grained doors where I now stood, my eyes beheld an ordinary room a friend had transformed into a sacred space. Our community generously dotted the middle sections of pews, patiently waiting for my feet to move. With lights dim and Cory Asbury’s Reckless Love playing in the background, an overstuffed chair sat at the center. A box of Kleenex was kindly placed as if God awaited my tear-laden entrance into this divine living room.


Slowly, I walked my aching heart toward the front. Toward the overstuffed armchair where my community would gather to pray over me. Where they would pray for my dad’s salvation, come what may of his body. 


I was overwhelmed. With grief. But also awe too.


Paul writes, “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,” (Romans 8:26, ESV).


While sitting in that armchair, God’s Holy Spirit pleaded for me before the Father who enters the anguish of all human hearts. He contended with the lies that God had forgotten or somehow dismissed my sorrow. The Comforter pressed in on my behalf, undeterred by my unspoken accusations and the tears that flooded the floor.


In that chair that became God’s embrace, I heard Him whisper: Daughter, I’ve been waiting. You are welcome here. I am with you. In all of it. Always.   


God’s scarred hands take hold of the grief and struggles that surround you — those realities that weary your heart and threaten to undo you. 


The late-night arguments. The prodigal child. The outstanding debt. The back-biting friend. The diagnosis that blindsided you. Even the sound of your voice, spewing words you desperately wish you could take back.  


In all of it, God beckons you further in. His voice calls out, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light,” (Matthew 11:28-30, NLT).


He's saying, Come. Sit with me while we work this through together.


Like yoked oxen, prayer connects us to God. Prayer tills up the hardened clay; it forges the pathway. Prayer pulls back the veil of God's presence, reminding us Whose we are and why we are here.


Even soul-weary praying changes and forms us. It comforts us and releases us. Night or day, prayer ushers us into God’s compassion, kindness, and authority over everything that overwhelms us or those around us. Prayer holds the weightiness of our world — the tossing and turning, the distress and the heartache. Prayer welcomes the presence of God who comforts, holds, consoles, and heals. One soul-weary offering at a time.


Friend, sometimes we hear God loudest when our fatigued souls get the quietest.


Weary beloved, will you join me? 


Bring your grief, your anxiety and overwhelm, your distress and everyday burdens. Let your slippers slide off for a few stilled moments and allow your spent soul to rest securely in the welcome embrace of God and His overstuffed armchair. 


A Prayer for the Soul Weary

Holy Spirit, I belong to You. You are here, already praying for me—holding me, and welcoming me. Thank you for seeing me—even the parts I try to keep hidden. Relieve my spirit’s tossing and turning over things I cannot control. Help me release the weight of burdens not meant for me. Please put my mind at rest—that my body would follow. Life with You changes me and wraps me ever more beautifully in the robes of Your righteousness and glory. In Jesus’ Name I pray and enter Your daily rest for me. Amen.


 

The Hear Him Louder Essay Series is a guest essay series where God's daughters share their stories of hearing God’s whispers in their every day. It’s meant to serve as an encouragement for the times when God feels far and seems quiet. May this series be an invitation for us to listen for His voice together.


Don't miss any posts in this series! Subscribe to receive each new essay in your inbox, posted every other Thursday. When you subscribe, you'll receive a FREE download of a Prayer Planning Worksheet, a resource to help you prepare your heart to listen for His voice in prayer.


New to this series? Check out the rest of the series!


 

About Jennifer


Jennifer Sakata is a speaker, author, podcaster, and guest blogger who nurtures joy at the corner of real grace and real life. Her passion is helping distracted women overcome the overwhelm of 'doing more' so they can receive God's grace to live God's grace. Her favorite moments as a workshop and retreat leader are those thin-veiled glimpses when someone recognizes God's grace rewriting their story.


Jennifer celebrates publication in four devotionals, including her most recent, Trusting God: 31 Days, 31 Women, 31 Stories, One God. Keep an eye out for Jennifer's latest podcast, Living the Grace Life Podcast, launching Spring ‘24.

Jennifer lives the grace life in Central Illinois with her husband Craig and their two Earthside teen sons. You can find Jennifer at her website, on Instagram and Facebook, and at the Joy: In & Out of Season podcast.

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