Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Praying in Silence

Different people like to pray in different settings, in different ways. I know many people who prefer to pray early in the morning. Others who like to pray alone in their rooms at the side of their beds. Others like to pray with music playing in the background. Many like to pray in groups.

In my experience, I've rarely been in a group setting where the prayer was quiet. The church I attend is just not one of those groups. Prayers are usually done in a loud voice, with music playing in the background, in small groups, while holding hands - they are just not quiet gatherings.

So the silence of a church is - well, sort of eery for me. A silent church, it just distracting for me initially. I can't bear it - it's so stifling. When it's silent in a church, I'm almost afraid to breath.

A silent prayer. Reflection. Stillness. Actually is quite....intimate and intense, I'm surprised to find. I've prayed in the quiet before. But it was always a bit awkward and uncomfortable. You know, like those uncomfortable silences, when you just don't know what to say. That's often been my impression of a prayer said in a quiet place and in silence, without any music to move you, or encourage your prayer.

Music can be a great aid in prayer. As can bible reading, or praying written prayers. But after a while in your christian walk, there has to come a time when you're no longer afraid of the silence. Or rather, when the silence is all you need so that you can hear the voice of God. In the silence, with no distractions, no music to sway your emotions or influence your thoughts, you stand bare and exposed before God. Without music, there is no where to hide. In the silence, it's all n@k'd truth and honesty.

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