Tears as Prayers

Photo from http://www.sxc.hu by dogmadic

I often remark to my church family that if they want a pastor who doesn’t cry, they should get a different pastor. I often cry because I’m moved, because my soul feels something deep, or something deep within me is trying to express itself. But I don’t believe tears are to be avoided but that tears are in one sense prayers. Expressions of our depth.

That’s why I believe tears can be healing. Tears are the prayers of the soul. Tears are what we give when we can’t give anything else. When my dad died we found this quote in his to-do list:

I cry tears to you Lord, tears because I cannot speak. Words are lost among my fears, pains, sorrows, losses, hurts. But, tears you understand, my wordless prayer you hear. – Joe Bailey

There is truth in that. Tears are the prayers of the soul. But we also know that there is a time coming when we no longer need to cry or shed tears. Revelation 21: 4 says, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” But in the meantime it’s okay to shed a tear. There is a future that is coming that is full of energy, connection, depth, light-bursting, and life- giving reality. In that place we won’t cry because our souls will be whole.

But today if your soul doesn’t feel whole, if your spirit feels low, it is okay to cry. Shedding tears is a prayer to God, asking him to make whole what hurts, to mend what’s broken, and to give to what feels gone. And if today that’s where you are at…then know that those tears aren’t wasted but that God hears, cares, and, in the end, will act…

6 thoughts on “Tears as Prayers

  1. You’re onto something.

    When James talks about the earnest prayers of righteous man, I’ve wondered about tears as a sign of this kind of prayer. And I’ve long loved Psalm 56:8, “You have stored my tears
    in your bottle and counted each of them.”

    1. I hadn’t ever made the connection with the passage in James but I think tears are definitely the sign of a righteous man. In Psalms 6:6 David says his pillow is wet from his weeping. And yet at the end of the Psalm he says that God has heard his prayers. So maybe righteousness ism tied into tears. It makes sense to me. Great comment!

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