04 Sep Prayer 101: Silent Prayer
Be still and know that I am God…
The second in a series of short articles about prayer written by Friend and Oblate of Mucknell, Fr Raymond Avent.
‘Silence is Golden’ we say. Quakers believe it. They ask us: ‘Do you try to set aside times of quiet for openness to the Holy Spirit? All of us need to find a way into silence which allows us to deepen our awareness of the divine and to find the inward source of strength.’ The Prayer of Silence had been largely lost by most Christians in the West for centuries; recovered in the last century, it is still not known by many Christians. Yet this ‘pure prayer’ – beyond words and thoughts – is the birthright of all Christians and a flowering of the grace of baptism. In fact it is part of the teaching and practice of all religions.
In the prayer of silence, often called Meditation, we come before God empty but receptive and expectant, open to the deep healing God wants to work in us: to form us in the likeness of Jesus. He often went away to be silent and told us: “go into your inner room.” This authentic Christian prayer is specially needed in these days of frenetic activity – where we can just be at home in God’s love. Many schools today are having a short silence every day which has a positive effect on children who take to it easily and love it; as Jesus said, they are close to the Kingdom of heaven in their receptivity.
How do we meditate?
Sit upright, still and relaxed; close your eyes lightly.
Be still and know that I AM. (Psalm 46: 10)
Wait on God alone in stillness my soul. (Psalm 62: 10)
To keep us still before God it helps to say silently, interiorly, continuously, a scriptural phrase or word (a mantra) such as: Come Lord, Abba, Father, Jesus, Peace...
We choose a word or short phrase we feel drawn to and let it become rooted in us. Any thought or image during this time is a distraction (however holy!) When we wander we simply return back gently to the word. It is good to meditate regularly each day. In silence we become open to all that God wishes to transform and heal in us (it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord). Silence IS golden; it is God’s gift of himself to us.
Find out more from the World Community for Christian Meditation