Question marks in speak bubbles

What do you say when you pray?

A young man, struggling with his prayer life had the opportunity to commune with Mother Teresa towards the end of her life. He thought this the ideal opportunity to get some tips on how to pray so he asked:

“What do you say when you pray?”

“My brother,” she replied, “I do not say anything, I listen.”

“Wow” thought the young man, she must have some amazing stories to tell about what God has said to her if she’s been listening this whole time. So he asked, “What does God say to you?”

“Nothing,” she replied, “he listens.”

Hands clasp in prayer

I don’t know if this story is accurate but its moral remains the same.

How many of us are quick to reel off a list to God, whether it be a list of confessions, blessings or requests? We think our words are what God listens to but the truth is God knows what is on our hearts before we speak to him, as Matthew 6:8b says:

“…for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”

Perhaps we could steal ourselves to listen to God but the 2nd half of the story is pretty scary isn’t it? What if we don’t hear anything back?! If God doesn’t talk to Mother Teresa he’s not going to speak to me, is he?! But he does – God speaks to us in ways other than audible words: through the words of other people, through the actions of other people or through the things we see happening around us. We just need to listen and we will hear.

Hnad behind ear, listening

There is no right way to pray. Praying in silence won’t suit everyone but praying is about your relationship with God. If you don’t give the relationship time and space, it simply can’t develop. Praying needs to be a 2 way process between you and God, whether you’re praying the Psalms, singing Matt Redman, dancing to ABBA, painting, reading the Bible, walking or in silence, I challenge you to listen to God listening to you and you’ll experience a new transcendent relationship.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *