In the middle of the Book of Ecclesiastes, the Teacher stops to offer some advice about prayer:
“Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong. Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.” (Ecclesiastes 5:1–2, TNIV)
As with most things in Ecclesiastes, the Teacher is incredibly sharp with his advice on prayer (he’s essentially saying 'shut up'). But even in his sharpness, he illuminates an aspect of prayer that often goes unexplored – silence or listening. I love this account of Mother Teresa on prayer:
Dan Rather, CBS anchor, once asked Mother Teresa what she said during her prayers. She answered, "I listen." So Rather turned the question and asked, "Well then, what does God say?" To that Mother Teresa smiled with confidence and answered, "He listens." *
As you pray today, set aside some time to simply be quiet and still before God. If it’s not a regular practice for you, it will be a little awkward at first; but stay with it. Silence can be intimidating at first, but take a cue from Mother Teresa and rest in the confidence that God is listening right along with you.
About the Author
Isaac Gaff is the Managing Director of Worship and Creative Arts at Calvary UMC
* Just Like Jesus, Max Lucado, p. 71.