My friend Joyce Smith has sent me this tweet – a photo which tells its own story.
Joyce says : In the same way as words are often not needed when sitting with good friends, sitting in quiet with our Heavenly Father helps us to absorb his love and know his peace.
Silence & Prayer
inspired by Joyce’s photograph and caption
Some people find silence uncomfortable but in our praying to God, it’s more than an absence of exterior noise.
Real silence before God is actually quite an active thing.
Prayer has been likened by the late Mother Mary Clare SLG, as a ‘Love-Affair with God’ in which all the emotions are engaged from silent hand-holding to tempestuous tiffs. It’s about sitting with God in a state of loving friendship.
Another teacher of prayer, Father Benson, the founder of the Cowley Fathers (SSJE) said:
“The soul in its littleness looks upon God in his greatness; and God in his greatness looks upon the soul in its littleness and loves it.”
This understanding of prayer is reinforced by a quite famous story connected with Jean Vianney, (known to us as the Curé d’Ars). He noticed that an old man came regularly into church and just sat there for hours, staring ahead.
Eventually the priest asked him what he was doing all day, to which came the simple but profound reply,
“I looks at Him and He looks at me.”
These words remind us that in our personal praying we should be thinking about God. Prayer is not always bombarding him with requests.
Mother Mary Clare, makes a valid point when she says:
Let us be clear that what we are seeking in prayer is God Himself; not thoughts about Him nor about ourselves in relation to Him.
This involves silence. A silence which, as with the old man, is about sitting with God. When we do, we may express our love for God just by spending time with Him. Almost certainly, we will also discover God’s deep love for us because whilst I looks at Him, God will be looking at me and at you, and, as Fr. Benson puts it, God looks upon our soul, and loves it.
Mother Mary Clare SLG:
Some of the teachings on prayer by the late Mother Mary Clare SLG can be found in ‘Encountering the Depths’ a short but rich book about the nature and practice of prayer. Price £4 plus postage from the SLG Press. Go to the website. If you are not familiar with the SLG Press you will encounter a feast of books about prayer, spirituality and the Christian life.