Saturday, October 16, 2010

Everyone's Entitled to My Opinion: About Wordless Prayer

True prayer is in the silent depths of the soul.” ~ Augustine

In his 1972 British comedy, The Ruling Class, Peter O’Toole plays a nobleman gone mad--he thinks he’s Jesus. His reasoning is simple: “Whenever I pray I have the most disctinct feeling I’m talking to myself.”

He’s not alone. We’ve been told from our very first days of following Jesus about the importance of prayer. Yet many (most?) believers find prayer burdensome and unfulfilling. Have you ever felt as if you’re talking to yourself? One path to prayer does an end run around the problem: it does away with words. Have you ever tried praying without words? Do away with them! Words spoken and words thought. 

Our contemplative brethren refer to it as “centering prayer,” in which it is enough to simply be in God’s presence. It’s true in everyday life: our deepest relationships do not require unending chatter. Being together is enough. It’s also true with our creator.

We are word-hardened, but the Spirit of God transcends our language and our thoughts. In my opinion everyone should practice centering prayer.

1 comment:

  1. this isn't really related to your post but i thought you'd enjoy this quote from Richard Foster's book on prayer. It reminded me of your vision of the tree about a month ago.

    “as I examined the decaying tree, the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “This is my Church!” When I heard the words , tears came to my eyes. I had worked in churches all my life, and I knew it was so- the church, while huge and with some vestiges of life remaining, was decaying. Then, for some reason unknown to me, I turned 180 degrees and looked back at haystack rock in the distance. The tide had come in by now, and the rock was completely surrounded by water, the waves savagely breaking against it. The divine word continued, “But this is what my church is going to be!” Great hope rose up within me as I stared at this massive icon of strength and endurance.
    Then I was given instruction that I assume was one of the primary reasons for the encounter. It was the guidance to pray for the rising up of a new generation of leaders-prophets of the apostolic mold- leaders who could once again gather the people of God into communities of radical faithfulness.”