We know there is some connection between prayer and silence, but if we think about silence in our lives, it seems that it isn’t always peaceful – silence can also be frightening.
Just as there are two nights, there are two silences: one is frightening, the other peaceful. For many silence is threatening. They don’t know what to do with it.
Thus for many of us, silence has become a threat. There was a time when silence was normal and a lot of noise disturbed us. But today, noise is the normal fare and silence – strange as it may seem – has become the disturbance. It is not hard to understand why people who experience silence in this way have difficulty with prayer.Contemporary Reading:
Praying with Open Hands
He said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then there came a voice to him that said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”Scripture Reading:
1 Kings 19:11-13 (NRSV)