The next time you see a member of the armed forces in dress uniform, look at the ribbons worn over their heart.

If you see a dark purple ribbon with white stripes binding each end, you’re looking at a member of the walking wounded. The Purple Heart is a decoration given to service members wounded in the line of duty.

You and I live in a wounded world – and we don’t need a ribbon or medal to tell us so. All we have to do is look around to see that something went terribly wrong.

There have been times when I’ve felt so lost that I didn’t even know how to pray about it. The words “Lord, help” were on my mind, but they didn’t leave my lips. God knows how I felt, and He knows how you feel.

So, when you are too wounded to pray, the Spirit of God can help you overcome in three specific ways…

He overcomes the problem of prayerlessness. One of the ironies of the spiritual life is that we grow less energetic about prayer at the times we need to pray most. But inevitably, the Holy Spirit arrests our thoughts and leads us back to prayer (Galatians 4:6).

He overcomes the problem of pain. In times of great need, we probably need to do more listening than talking. The Holy Spirit prays in and through us according to the will of God (Romans 8:27), giving the direction we need.

He overcomes the problem of powerlessness. In times of despair, a simple confession of your feelings will engage the Holy Spirit to fight against distractions and confusion – and empower you to pray effectively.

Though you may not wear a Purple Heart on your chest, most of us have been wounded by life. But as you interact with others, I pray they will see something more than your battle scars. I pray they will also see a heart of joyful anticipation for the promises of God in Jesus Christ.