Silence and Prayer

I am so very much enjoying a study by Jessica Lagrone entitled “Set Apart: Holy Habits of Prophets and Kings.” She is a gifted teacher and Dean at Asbury Theological Seminary’s Chapel. Our first session on Solomon opened up new thinking on “wisdom”. The second week’s session on Elijah gave new perspective on prayer, silence, and listening for God’s voice. I went through some workshops on Centering Prayer a few years ago and learned the joy of sitting in focused silence before the Lord…Lagrone writes: “Silence in prayer is freedom from needing to have all the right words to say to God…..Silence confirms that there are no mistakes in prayer. You don’t need the right words in order to get prayer right; you simply need to bring all that you are before all that you know of God. I like that definition: prayer is bringing all that I am before all that I know of God, because it grows as we grow. My prayers grow as I learn more about who I am and who God is.”

Years ago a pastor said to me, “We bring as much of ourselves as we can understand to as much of God as we can understand.” I have tended to approach that process of knowing myself and knowing God through study of God’s Word and the great saints who have interpreted it for me, both ancient and contemporary. But in recent years I have learned how much of the “knowing”, both self and God, arises in silence and prayer. God gives knowledge and understanding sometimes simply through the communion of his Spirit with mine!

Another observation by Lagrone about prayer, from the story of Solomon, is that in response to God’s answer to his prayer for wisdom in a dream, he arose immediately upon awaking and worshipped God, then served God’s people.  Prayer and our gratitude for God’s response to our prayers leads us to right worship and to service!