Brokenness to Beauty

Transforming Your Brokenness into a Beautiful Life

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How to Pray When You Don’t Know What to Say

“How to Pray When You Don’t Know What to Say” is a blog post by Sarah Forgrave (, an introduction to her new book Prayers for Hope and Healing. I read Sarah’s article when she guest posted on Debbie W. Wilson’s Refreshing Faith website.

What caught my attention immediately was Sarah’s reference to her long-time approach to prayer; it was very much like what I’ve written about in my book Brokenness to Beauty, the ACTS in prayer which was so beneficial to me when I discovered it.

Here’s what I wrote in Brokenness to Beauty,  Chapter 11 “Prayer: Just Do It … But How?”:

“I distinctly remember when, as a college student, I cried out … in frustration to God. My ‘prayer life’ wasn’t working. I would make my prayer list and start my prayers by asking God this and that for so-and-so, and I meant it wholeheartedly. This would last for a day or two, but time after time my fervor would dwindle into mechanical words read from a list. I knew I had to pray with my heart, but I didn’t know how to maintain the transfer from my head to my heart. I sincerely yearned to communicate with God and effect change through prayer on behalf of others in need, yet I usually ended up feeling that I was falling short. I didn’t know what to do about it, so I did the only thing I did know to do: I asked God to help me.

A few years later I was introduced to a simple way of entering into God’s presence in prayer, one that’s easy to remember and rooted in the Scriptures. It changed the way I prayed and as a result, changed my life. It is called the ACTS of prayer.[i]

The acrostic stands for:

Adoration. Approach God in humility, reverence, and awe, and worship him for who he is. We learn about him as we read and study the Bible. He is holy, and we must approach him as such (Luke 11:2).

Confession. Sin acts as a wall between us and God, effectively blocking our prayers (Isaiah 59:2). We need to be sensitive to God’s Spirit on a daily basis as he speaks conviction to us, confessing and repenting of all known sin as soon as we are aware of it. That way, communication with God remains open (1 John 1:8–9).

Thanksgiving. The greatest acceptable sacrifice we can make to God (along with laying our lives at his feet as a living sacrifice, as Paul tells us to do in Romans 12:1) is the sacrifice of thanksgiving and praise (Hebrews 13:15). Our prayers are to be seasoned with gratitude.

Supplication. This is the part we normally think of as prayer: asking God for something (Luke 11:9–10). Our requests must be couched in the reverence and worship due to God as we seek first his will in the matter, with our prayer purged of known sin through confession and repentance, wrapped in trust, and infused with thanksgiving.”

As I wrote, “It changed the way I prayed and as a result, changed my life.”  It became the pattern for most of my prayers. When I read Sarah’s article, it seemed she used a similar way of praying.

But I also wrote in Brokenness to Beauty, “There are, of course, times when all we can do is burst out, ‘Lord help me!'” There are times when we are so burdened and feel so deeply our need, we cry out like the psalmists did, in the agony of our heart. We still approach God in humility and reverence, but we burst into his presence in the agony of our situation.

I think this is what Sarah found as well when she experienced tremendous physical struggles coping with a chronic disease,  and she found prayer too was a struggle. Her method of approaching God felt insufficient in her time of need.

I understand fully, having lived with a chronic disease for over 50 years and having faced the trauma of breast cancer and treatment, and then the fractures of both my femurs, rods surgically implanted in them, and months of physical therapy. Life gets hard at times and what is familiar can seem inadequate for the present struggle.

That’s why I want to share Sarah’s blog post with you and introduce you to her book, Prayers for Hope and Healing. If you are struggling right now, or know someone who is, and prayer seems just as hard, the old familiar patterns inadequate, this article and Sarah’s book may be just what you need.

Prayers for Hope and Healing by Sarah Forgrave

From the back cover of Prayers for Hope and Healing:

Amid Pain and Weakness…There is HOPE

Serious or chronic medical issues bring a litany of painful and confusing feelings that only someone else who’s been in a similar situation could possibly understand. Sarah Forgrave has walked the difficult road you find yourself on. And she empathizes with the uncertain future you face.

No matter the road ahead, you don’t have to face it alone. Even in the depths of your worst emotional and physical pain, God is right there beside you, offering His comfort, love, and peace.

As you read these heartfelt prayers and devotions, let this book be your manual to help navigate the difficult set of emotions that come with health issues. Read it front to back or go directly to the devotion addressing how you feel at any given moment…when you need it the most.

Above all, know that you are never, ever alone.

Read Sarah’s blog post as she shares “How to Pray When You Don’t Know What to Say”:

For most of my life, I approached prayer like a checklist. It went something like this. Adore God. Confess my sins. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Ask Him for what I want.

This checklist helped fill the awkward silence, but when life got hard, so did prayer.

Suddenly my adoration wasn’t so quick to rise to the surface. Instead of confession and gratitude, I was mad at God for letting me hurt. There were plenty of things I wanted Him to do, but I frankly didn’t have much faith He would follow through on them.

Have you found yourself in the same place?

To continue to read how Sarah learned to connect with God during hard times, you can see the full article here:


Sarah Forgrave is an author and wellness coach who loves inspiring others toward their full potential. In addition to her book, Prayers for Hope and Healing (Harvest House, October 2017), her writing credits include contributions to The Gift of Friendship, Guideposts’ A Cup of Christmas Cheer, and the webzine Ungrind. When she’s not writing or teaching, she loves to shop at Trader Joe’s or spend time with her husband and two children in their Midwest home. Visit Sarah at, or at the following sites:







[i] The ACTS of Prayer are explained at


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How tears prevail when words fail

Let us learn to think of tears as liquid prayers.” Charles Spurgeon

During my cancer treatment, many times—daily—I cried out to God. Pain especially makes me vulnerable to tears. Fear has a similar effect. My default response is to pray, talking and often crying with tears to God. To this day, I work hard at holding it together emotionally in public, but in private, just me and God, I hold back nothing from him. I know I can unload my fears, my uncertainties, my anxieties, my tears on him, and he will understand. He can take it. We are always accepted by him, never rejected. We can be vulnerable and open with the Lord, for no one who comes to him in that way is ever rejected. …There is only One who can bear, and has borne, our sorrows, our pains: Jesus. (Taken from Brokenness to Beauty, Chapter 13, Prayer as Our Lifeline.)

In chapter 13 of my book I give you a peek at some of my areas of weakness: pain, fear and anxieties, the unknown. I never said I was strong, but I do know the One who is and I have learned to go to him, where I can unreservedly dump all my cares on him. As fellow blogger, Susanne Maynes, says in her recent blog post titled “Why your faith doesn’t always need to feel victorious,” sometimes we simply need to climb into Abba’s lap and let the tears flow. I think I should be an expert at that!

Picture by Helen Hooker

Picture by Helen Hooker

Take a moment, click on the link and read what Susanne has to say about crying in the Lord’s lap. You may find it to be just what you need. I know I did.


Are We There Yet? Almost!

How do you handle traumatic news? How do you move through each day when it feels like your old familiar world is crumbling around you? Is it possible, and if so how, to live joyfully and confidently while assailed by pain, fear, or devastating loss?

As I contemplated and prayed about what I would say in a book about going through suffering—and getting through it whole and better than when one started the journey—it became clear to me that several principles are of vital importance, both for those who are going through trials and for those who walk alongside them. These principles became the framework upon which I sculpted the body of this book.

So begins the Introduction to Brokenness to Beauty: Transforming Your Brokenness into a Beautiful Life. The book that came out of the blog Jacque’s Journey (, is now only weeks away from going public. I feel I should type an exclamation mark behind that sentence!

Whereas, I once was beginning this journey of writing–

Photo by Sgarton

Photo by Sgarton


Now I am in the “Almost” there phase. I can see the Finish line–

Photo from SIS 5K run 2015

Photo from Bakersfield SIS Advocacy Group 5K Run 2015

My book going public: This is exciting and scary news all at the same time! For me anyway. Are you ready for this book? Am I ready for this book?

For years I heard and read comments from my blog readers that I needed to write a book, that I should tell my story. Maybe this is the book you expected, maybe not. But this is the book that grew out of writing it, praying as I wrote.

Brokenness to Beauty is a five Part, twenty-three chapter book designed with you in mind because, as the end of the Introduction states: Most of our days are filled with activities that pull us in many directions at once; therefore, this book is structured so that it may be read in short sections, easily adapted to a busy lifestyle. It is my hope that I have written these few chapters simply and clearly enough so that those who read it may, as with the vision given to Habakkuk, “read it fluently,” or with understanding, so that they may go on in their life journey stronger for it and in turn share it with others (Habakkuk 2:2). 


Photo by Gaborfromhungary

Photo by Gaborfromhungary

Are we there yet? Almost! Stay tuned—or keep following this blog—to be among the first to know when Brokenness to Beauty hits the stores!

(And yes, there will be an e-book version as well!)