Sunday, October 10, 2004
Shh... listen
From Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster:
Attuning ourselves to divine breathings is spiritual work, but without it our praying is vain repetition. Listening to the Lord is the first thing, the second thing, and the third thing necessary for successful intercession. Soren Kierkegaard once observed: "A man prayed, and at first he thought that prayer was talking. But he became more and more quiet until in the end he realized that prayer is listening" (39).

I was taught that praying in tongues--that personal prayer language--is for using when you don't know what else to pray. It's for when you get stuck. It's priming the pump. That may even be the exact expression I had heard.

The more I think about it, the more I think that's a load of crap. I think it's a load of crap because it's motivated by a fear of silence. We all know those people scared to death of the conversational lull in public. The phobia can creep into the prayer life as well. Silence can be frightening. Me, I've always got music blaring. From the laptop. From the stereo. The other day I had the ballgame on the laptop and the stereo on. Ah, the security of noise.

Silence is frightening.

But it doesn't have to be that way. The spiritual discipline that most tickles my fancy presently is listening. Listening to God. Listening to people. Listening not just for audible voices, but truly attuning myself everything both said and unsaid. Listening. Shh. Can you hear that?

I don't pray in tongues anymore. First of all, some of those who exposed me to the gift disappointed my deeply. But mostly it's because I need to listen. And I'm not afraid of the silence.

The first time, though, that I did pray in tongues is a funny story in itself you should ask me sometime.

Tonight was guys night out: VBCC style. So it was Pedro here, Alan, Matt and Brian, chewing on red meat, broiled new potatoes and linguine with pesto. Yes, Pedro obstained from the red wine that flowed. And we watched U-571, your standard submarine flick. I swear, every submarine movie has to have the scene where they have to see how deep they can take her. Not a bad flick, by any means, though. Good times were had by all.

posted by Peter at 1:26 AM
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