by R. S. Thomas
Moments of great calm,
Kneeling before an altar
Of wood in a stone church
In summer, waiting for the God
To speak; the air a staircase
For silence; the sun’s light
Ringing me, as though I acted
A great rôle. And the audiences
Still; all that close throng
Of spirits waiting, as I,
For the message.
Prompt me, God;
But not yet. When I speak,
Though it be you who speak
Through me, something is lost.
The meaning is in the waiting.
In reflecting on prayer recently I have been drawn to this poem. Prayer in my life at the moment is something that is in many ways undefined. I pray, but often in ways that seem contrived or hollow. It is when I sit in those moments of silence that my communion with God seems most authentic.
To hear from God and to be inspired to speak words of truth and encouragement from God is often something I rush into. My ideas stumble over each other in the burning passion to have something to say. I might throw in a perfunctory prayer - a ritual to be performed - out of obligation rather than intentional worship. Real prayer, real communion, goes much deeper than that and is full of silence.
Silence is nebulous. It is uncomfortable. It can't be quantified. I can't check off that I spent x number of minutes for my "Quiet Time" and prayer. I can't go through the mental checklist of praying the ACTS (or CATS) acronym. It was easier when I could, but it still felt hollow.
So I'm learning to accept silence. I don't understand it. I don't "do it" well. But I have learned that there is meaning in the waiting. And so I wait in silence.
For other contributions to this synchroblog on prayer check out Lyn
Update - here's the list of participants.
Teach Me to Pray…Again?Lyn Hallewell
God, Prayer and MeErin Word
Prayer=Sex with GodRick Meigs
Prayer Helps that Get Me DeeperAlan Knox
Pray without CeasingJulie Clawson
Synchroblog PrayerAlex (Heather’s Husband)
Prayer Synchroblog IILydia
How Do You PrayChe Vachon
My Thoughts…Paul Mayers
Praying and Learning to Pray AgainSonja Andrews
The Appearance of HolinessJon Peres
How Do I Pray?Paul Walker
One Congregation Experiments with Emerging PrayerSusan Barnes
Synchroblog: How Do You Pray?Brother Maynard
Fear Not the SilenceNate Peres
How Do I Pray?Barry Taylor
Synchroblog:How Do You Pray?Emerging Grace
Clearance Sale on Intercession BooksJim Lehmer
Synchroblog - How Do You Pray?Lew A
How Do You Pray? - SynchroblogJon Hallewell
When I’m Spoken ToDeb
Prayer without Throwing ThingsPatti Blount
How Do I PrayDoug Jones
How I PrayGlenn Hagar
Prayer PhasesPam Hogeweide
The Art of Blue Tape SpiritualityMary
How Do I Pray?Rhonda Mitchell
Prayer SynchroBlogJohn Smulo
Praying NaturallyRachel Warwick
How Do You Pray?Barbara Legere
How to Not PrayJonathan Brink
Posture - Sitting With My DaddyAndy
How Do I PrayCynthia Clack
How Do I PrayMakeesha Fisher
The Mystery of Prayer
Labels: Reflections, Synchroblog, Worship