So what’s wrong with praying with words, anyway?
Absolutely nothing. I love to pray with words. I’m a word person. Whether spontaneous or ritualized, prayerful words are always beautiful to me.
Well then, what’s so great about silence?
I’m going to quote my favorite artist again, the abstract impressionist Mark Rothko, when asked once to describe the feather-edged blocks of color he painted again and again in his late career. Could he offer any comment on his art, moving for some, baffling for others?
The artist replied, “Silence is so accurate.”
Silence is a place beyond judgment.
Words are beautiful. They are a tool we can never, should never, completely put down. True words can give life. Beautiful words can restore the soul. And yet, all words are limited. All the more so when the words are about God, to God, for God.
For those of us who have been wounded by religious words brandished as weapons, silence can be a welcome place to rest.
For those of us who struggle to find the right words to say, silence is a way to let the Spirit speak for us.
For those of us who spend our lives analyzing, categorizing, judging (all necessary things sometimes) silence can help us experience the world in a different way.
Silence can help us learn that ultimately, we are not what we do, how we look, how much we know. We just are, and there is so much beauty and value in how we are.
Silence helps us admit that we don’t have the world or time or our Higher Power all figured out. There is so much more to life than we could express in words.
And silence speaks to that.
Today’s 15 minutes of prayer: First thing in the morning again. Again, my mind found it hard to center, drifting off even more easily than usual into dreamlike fantasy. But even though I’m not at my best in the morning, there’s nothing like starting my day with prayer. It sends a message to my still-sleepy brain that prayer is important, that it’s real, that it can change my day and my life and my eternity.