Why the best prayers are inexpressible prayers

By Steve Wickham

“Right thoughts of God are able to ravish the heart… The life, the glory, the blessedness, the soul-satisfying goodness that is in God are beyond all expression.” – John Bunyan (1628-1688)

RAVISH is an interesting word. I assumed it meant “dismember,” but it actually means “overwhelm,” “overcome,” and even “delight.” Bunyan’s quote leads us to agree; God is good!

God is good. But what does this really mean? What does it actually say? Perhaps we can only unpack what this actually means and says when we enter into the Presence of the LORD… by prayer; by listening into the Spirit by silent contemplation, by praising him prayerfully in worship, and by being ensconced in the Spirit.

When we meditate on the worth of God within life, and principally within our own lives, we cannot help but be struck with the concordance of goodness and grace under God.

Prayer illuminates God

Right thoughts and right feelings of God illuminate God in his goodness and grace.

We don’t always come before God in prayer thinking right thoughts and feeling right feelings. But if we can redirect our thoughts and feelings aright, God will illuminate our sense for his goodness and grace.

Think; God can ravish the heart. We want that. We want the experience of being overwhelmed spiritually. When we consider God in all truth we’re quickly sent into raptures of delight for who he is. Focus on God is a matter of prayer. The best of prayer focuses purposefully on the goodness and grace of God.

Prayer, real prayer, is easier than we think

Prayer, I want to suggest, is much more a spiritual media implicit within our being than it is utterances of what we consciously say or even think.

The Holy Spirit is alive and well in us, but we’re not always so in touch. Prayer is the medium of divine connection, by partaking; by the simple observance, contemplatively, within the heart of God. But prayer is also God speaking directly into us, by conviction mostly. And, by prayer of all forms, implicit and explicit, God wants us alive to his goodness and grace, for in such cognizance we can only thrive in hope, peace, and joy.

Prayer, as it resides in practicing the Presence of God, is inexpressible. As our soul spends time getting drenched in the spiritual gaiety of the Lord, we grow in relationship. None of this is doctrinal in importance, because first and foremost it’s an experience of life. But it must be able to be explained doctrinally. It just stands to reason that focus on the goodness and grace of God magnify him to the point our praise is inexpressible.

Real prayer is inexpressible because it’s pregnant in praise. We neither speak nor listen, but abide in thoughtfulness about God; his goodness and grace in our lives.

So the best prayers are beyond expression. The best prayers are ineffable and inexpressible, because praise proclaims a passionately private proclamation.

The best prayers can also be sorrowful. Because they’re so deep these, too, are inexpressible. The deeper we’re touched by God the more speechless we become.

The truest prayers truly surpass words. They reside in the heart and are worn on the soul.


By Steve Wickham