Another Saturday comes round.
A couple of pieces of writing – one on silence in prayer – the other on listening – deep listening. They are linked in that silence in God’s presence may enable us to listen more attentively to others. We hope you will find one or other resonates with you – or even maybe both.
And as always a blessing:
Refrain: May the Lord bless you,
May he lay his hand upon you, & keep you as the apple of his eye.
May his love protect you, may he guard you from all evil,
And Jesus be the way you travel by.
He will not let the night be master of your fears,
Cause you not to stumble on a stone,
But with mighty hand & with outstretched arm
He will claim you as his own.
Through your land & your heights
The flame of terror prowls; you will feel abandoned in the fight.
But beneath the shadow of his wings is the armour of his light. Refrain.
He has clothed you with gold, & knows you by your name;
Sees your joy & hears your silent sign.
And if ever you are in need of him, he will answer when you cry.
At times it can be helpful to speak openly and thoroughly to God about what we experience in life. We may feel compelled to talk and talk and talk. And God will listen.
But there are other times when words seem quite insufficient. In fact, there are times when words appear to be counterproductive. In those moments the greatest blessings come through silence. We come to realize that silence is a language. In fact, communication with God, in moments of silence, has the potential to be far deeper than words can bring us. Do not be afraid of silent communication with God. Do not feel as though you must speak. Simply being silent, in His presence, knowing that He is there, may be exactly what you are in need of in those moments.
Be content simply being in God’s presence in the silence? Ponder today your experience of being silent in the presence of God. Try to discern the unique and profound language God speaks this way. Try to commit yourself to these prolonged moments of silent communication with God. You may discover that you are more at peace, gain a new level of clarity in life, or have grown in a certain confidence, then you can be assured that these good fruits in your life have come to you from God communicating with you in silence.
God, I desire to seek You and know You. Help me to hear You speak through the silence. Help me to understand this deep language of love and to allow You to transform me through this form of prayer. My God, I trust in You.
Deep listening requires letting go of our internal argument with the world. Before we can truly listen, we must exhaust ourselves of our assumptions. Deep listening requires my looking at you as a sudden fish that has surfaced from the deep. It requires bringing you water rather than judgments. Every time we speak, we have to discern: are we speaking honestly or just barking from our wall into all we are afraid of? And every time we receive, are we actually hearing the truth of another or are we preparing the next argument like a brick to strengthen our wall? We often wear so many opinions that wonder has very little chance of touching our skin. We all struggle with this. Yet the courage to be begins with the risk to let that instant of unknowing grow between what is said to us and our reflex to ready our response.