Sunday, August 26, 2007,3:09 PM
Prayer Synchroblog
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 or Erin's blogs.

Update - here's the list of participants.

Cindy Bryan Teach Me to Pray…Again?
Lyn Hallewell God, Prayer and Me
Erin Word Prayer=Sex with God
Rick Meigs Prayer Helps that Get Me Deeper
Alan Knox Pray without Ceasing
Julie Clawson Prayer Synchroblog
Heather Synchroblog Prayer
Alex (Heather’s Husband) Prayer Synchroblog II
Lydia How Do You Pray
Che Vachon My Thoughts…
Paul Mayers Praying and Learning to Pray Again
Sonja Andrews The Appearance of Holiness
Jon Peres How Do I Pray?
Paul Walker One Congregation Experiments with Emerging Prayer
Susan Barnes Synchroblog: How Do You Pray?
Brother Maynard Fear Not the Silence
Nate Peres How Do I Pray?
Barry Taylor Synchroblog:How Do You Pray?
Emerging Grace Clearance Sale on Intercession Books
Jim Lehmer Synchroblog - How Do You Pray?
Lew A How Do You Pray? - Synchroblog
Jon Hallewell When I’m Spoken To
Deb Prayer Synchroblog
Barb Prayer without Throwing Things
Patti Blount How Do I Pray
Doug Jones How I Pray
Glenn Hagar Prayer Phases
Pam Hogeweide The Art of Blue Tape Spirituality
Mary How Do I Pray?
Rhonda Mitchell Prayer SynchroBlog
John Smulo Praying Naturally
Rachel Warwick How Do You Pray?
Barbara Legere How to Not Pray
Jonathan Brink Posture - Sitting With My Daddy
Andy How Do I Pray
Cynthia Clack How Do I Pray
Makeesha Fisher The Mystery of Prayer

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posted by Julie at 3:09 PM ¤ Permalink ¤


  • At 8/26/2007 03:00:00 PM, Anonymous lyn

    Thank you for sharing Julie. I've really appreciated reading this.

  • At 8/26/2007 03:28:00 PM, Anonymous Dan Morehead

    I echo Lyn's statement.

  • At 8/26/2007 07:56:00 PM, Blogger Cindy

    silence and waiting. a lot like where i am, too.

  • At 8/26/2007 09:36:00 PM, Blogger Erin

    That's beautiful, Julie. Thanks for sharing it. Silence is so hard. I once heard Graham Cooke say "God's silence is just that, His silence". I love that.

  • At 8/27/2007 09:49:00 AM, Blogger Alan Knox


    Thanks for your post. I'll be meditating on this line for some time: "So I'm learning to accept silence."


  • At 8/27/2007 10:51:00 AM, Blogger paul

    When I visited with a faith community once they practiced silent prayer - it was a very hard thing to do, to wait in silence. they recomended a centering short phrase so that everytime your mind wandered you'd use the phrase to recentre. I found it so hard, my mind would wander, i'd want to think and follow my thoughts not try and not think at all.

    I've never really gone back to that practice again but your post reminds me of the value of silent listening.

    thank you.

  • At 8/27/2007 02:06:00 PM, Blogger Barry

    I love the poem -- but then I'm biased, as R.S. Thomas was a fellow Welshman.

    I've come across two types of silence in prayer: the uncomfortable silence that descends in some prayer meetings when people seem to have run out of things to pray; and the "full" silence that can occur when one is communing with God. I love the latter kind.

  • At 8/27/2007 03:44:00 PM, Anonymous Paul Walker

    I'd not heard the poem before Julie, but I found it quite touching and inspiring. Thank you for sharing it.eoki

  • At 8/28/2007 05:34:00 AM, Anonymous Cynthia

    Beautiful poem!
    Silence with God is the thing that I long for and don't seem to get enough of ... to many PEOPLE in this house!
    I have found that quietness the most intimate conversations that God and I have.

  • At 8/28/2007 01:38:00 PM, Blogger Sally

    I missed joining in on this because I was away at Summer School- so many interesting thoughts to catch up with- I love the R.S. Thomas poem!

  • At 8/29/2007 04:05:00 PM, Blogger Julie

    thank you all for comments and encouragement.