May 11, 2023
I’m currently reading a book called Praying like Monks, Living like Fools by Tyler Staton, a pastor in Portland, Oregon. In the opening chapter, Staton gives four reasons why we often do not pray and then gives four reasons why we should pray. Last week, I gave you the first in both categories. This week we are going to look at the seconds:
- We Don’t Pray for Fear of Silence
A confession: I am never without my AirPods. Those little headphones are constantly with me like an expensive appendage. And whenever I find myself in silence (on a walk, waiting in line, etc.) I pop those babies into my ears and pick back up on a podcast or listen to a song. I think it’s because, if I’m honest, I don’t like silence in my life. I prefer the input of noise to the vacuous nothing-ness of silence.
The writer Dallas Willard said, “Silence is frightening because it strips us as nothing else does, throwing us upon the stark realities of our life. And in that quiet, what if there turns out to be very little to ‘just us and God’?”
But prayer is about embracing silence. It is about being willing to stop enough to listen to God speaking to me. Prayer is more than providing God with my Honey Do List of things I’d like to see God get done while I’m at work. Prayer is about slowing down, prayer is about sabbath, prayer is about silence.
- Pray Because Trust Comes before Faith
We fear silence, but what gives us assurance in the midst of silence is trust. Specifically, trust in the character of God.
Staton says: “Jesus hasn’t revealed a God we can perfectly understand, but he has revealed a God we can perfectly trust. Trust is the certainty that the listening God hears and cares. I trust the God who, even when he doesn’t make the suffering go away, wears the suffering alongside me. Trusting the God revealed in Jesus means silence is real, but it’s not forever” (19).
Where can you embrace silence in your life this week? How can that silence foster trust within you?
Next week we will look at both the third and fourth fears about prayer and the third and fourth reasons why we should pray.