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  • Writer's pictureDawn Ward

How to Pray When You're Falling Apart

Updated: Apr 13

woman hair in wind
“He wounds, but his hands make whole.” Job 5:18 (NKJV)

“Lord, I don’t know how to pray. I don’t know what to ask for.” Overwhelming emotions clouded my mind; my thoughts were racing. I didn’t know what to ask for. I just knew I was falling apart. “Jesus, help me.”

And so, my unraveling began.

The Unraveling of Me

Definition: unravel

un·rav·el | \ ˌən-ˈra-vəl \


1a : to disengage or separate the threads of : DISENTANGLE

b : to cause to come apart by or as if by separating the threads of

2 : to resolve the intricacy, complexity, or obscurity of : clear up

to unravel a mystery

“𝘐𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘶𝘯𝘳𝘢𝘷𝘦𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘨, 𝘐 𝘢𝘮 𝘧𝘳𝘦𝘦.”

The words play through my head like a delicate symphony.

𝘐 𝘣𝘦𝘭𝘪𝘦𝘷𝘦 𝘎𝘰𝘥 𝘸𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘴 𝘮𝘦 𝘧𝘳𝘦𝘦.

Unravel: to become 𝘋𝘪𝘴𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘢𝘯𝘨𝘭𝘦𝘥.

To cause to come apart.

𝘍𝘰𝘳 𝘢 𝘨𝘪𝘳𝘭 𝘢𝘴 𝘵𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵𝘭𝘺 𝘸𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘥 𝘢𝘴 𝘮𝘦, 𝘥𝘪𝘴𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘢𝘯𝘨𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘸𝘰𝘯’𝘵 𝘣𝘦 𝘦𝘢𝘴𝘺.

I’ve spent my life tied up in knots.

People-pleasing, perfectionism, and being my own worst enemy have caused a knot inside me that is best left alone, or cut out like the impossible tangles woven in my hair after a shower.

Patience requires me to take my time, slow down. Treat them gently. Their removal won’t be easy.

Ripping a knot out of my hair is not like pulling off a Band-aid, at least not if I want to save my hair.

And so the 𝘶𝘯𝘳𝘢𝘷𝘦𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘣𝘦𝘨𝘪𝘯𝘴.

As Jesus begins his painstaking work of ridding me of the things that keep me bound, I want to…

𝘗𝘶𝘭𝘭 𝘢𝘸𝘢𝘺. 𝘛𝘶𝘳𝘯 𝘢𝘸𝘢𝘺. 𝘙𝘶𝘯 𝘢𝘸𝘢𝘺.

I didn’t sign up for this.

Oh, but I did.

When I was a little girl, no older than five, I felt him take me by the hand. I heard him say to my innocent spirit,

“𝘏𝘰𝘭𝘥 𝘰𝘯. 𝘕𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘭𝘦𝘵 𝘨𝘰. 𝘠𝘰𝘶 𝘸𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘯𝘦𝘦𝘥 𝘮𝘦 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘭𝘪𝘧𝘦.”

Somehow I knew it was his voice. And even in my messy choices and those places where I had no choice, he was there.

𝘜𝘯𝘳𝘢𝘷𝘦𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘨. 𝘋𝘪𝘴𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘢𝘯𝘨𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘨. 𝘏𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘨.

Applying salve to my owies. Binding up my wounds.

Then digging deeper still.

With the unraveling comes confusion and resistance on my part. Why did I pray that stupid prayer anyway?

Surely I knew this wouldn’t be easy. In fact, at times the pain is too much.

But pray it I did, and I meant every word.

“𝘍𝘢𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳. 𝘜𝘯𝘳𝘢𝘷𝘦𝘭 𝘮𝘦.”

Free me from myself. From my preconceived idea that somehow I could skate through this life pain-free.

From the silly notion that if I did everything right, life would be right; as though it was within my power to make that guarantee.

I sit down, hand him the comb, and grit my teeth.

So, the 𝘶𝘯𝘳𝘢𝘷𝘦𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘣𝘦𝘨𝘪𝘯𝘴.

I am as ready as I will ever be.

Again I pray, “𝘍𝘢𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳. 𝘏𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘸𝘢𝘺 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘮𝘦.”

rope in knot

I am as ready as I will ever be. Again I pray, “Father. Have your way with me.”

How to Pray a Prayer of Surrender

When we are dealing with a traumatic event or issue, our schedule goes to pieces. Our eating patterns and sleeping schedules are off.We have come to the end of ourselves, too broken to pick up the pieces of our lives and put them back together again. It’s in our messy moments, in our helplessness and confusion, Jesus is waiting. Waiting to hear our prayer. Waiting to come to our rescue. Waiting to heal all those who are crushed in spirit.

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart- These, O God, You will not despise.” Psalms 51:17 (NKJV)

Are you ready to pray this prayer with me? Are you ready for your unraveling? Ready to be unrecognizable.

𝘍𝘰𝘳𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘤𝘩𝘢𝘯𝘨𝘦𝘥.

If so, won’t you pray with me?

Pinterest pin woman throwing back hair in wind

Dear Lord.

I am ready to let go of the things that seemingly hold me together, but are keeping me from fully relying on you. I am willing to be broken if that is what it takes for you to transform me. I place myself into your hands. Unravel me. Disentangle the knots inside of me. Make me whole. Thank you, Jesus.


Beautiful Blessings. Dawn

Here is a beautiful song by Cory Ashbury, Unravel Me, whose message I know will bless you as it has me.

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