For this month’s edition of Prayer Corner, Pastor Brian will be sharing with us on the importance of silence in our prayer life.
December ’22: The Silent Words of Prayer
By Brian L.
Coming out of the pandemic, I realized that we have grown used to the idea of using online platforms to bridge the gap of inconveniences. In particular, we developed a culture of online meetings, from a place of reluctance to a sense of reliance. I have experienced not just the phenomenon of more meetings, but the concept of meetings becoming more agenda and task driven. While there’s nothing wrong with migrating some of our interactions online, the by-product of this online culture is the growing discomfort of radio silence. It’s one thing to be entering awkward silence when we engage in conversation in-person, but it feels excruciating pain when we encounter such online.
Unfortunately, this disdain of awkward silence often seeps into our prayer life. We don’t like the idea of entering into a spiritual presence with God (even in community) without any visual or auditory stimuli. We need to be praying in words or images or whatnot. Especially when we are entering the season of Advent, we are expected to be constantly bombarded by visual, audio, and physical stimuli of festive imagery and spewing of Christmas phrases and rituals in our prayer life.
As the wisdom of our Christian forebearers have taught us, silence is just as crucial in our prayer life. It is in the practice of silence in prayer that we displace our need of control from the throne and let our Lord be Lord. Rather than having me reinvent the wheel, I believe that the brothers at Taize (a monastic community in France) has a good encouraging lesson on the stillness of prayer:
“When we try to express communion with God in words, we rapidly reach the end of our capacities. But in the depths of our being Christ is praying for more than we imagine. Compared to the immensity of that hidden prayer of Christ in us, our explicit praying dwindles to almost nothing. That is why silence is so essential in discovering the heart of prayer.
Although God never stops trying to communicate with us, God never wants to impose anything on us. Often God’s voice comes in a whisper, in a breath of silence. Remaining in silence in God’s presence, open to the Spirit, is already prayer.
It is not a matter of trying to obtain inner silence at all costs by following some method that creates a kind of emptiness within. The important thing is a childlike attitude of trust by which we allow Christ to pray within us silently, and then one day, we will discover that the depths of our being are inhabited by a Presence.” — Taize