Prayer or Silence?

Ashland 2004 046

I wonder if most religious folks really understand what they’re doing when they pray.  When I was praying, I’m not sure I really knew why.

Here’s my comment on this Saturday Evening Post article, The Power of Prayer.

This article starts and ends in silence, and that’s good. Silence is, of course, not “prayer.” As a former Protestant Minister who did a huge amount of praying both in public and private, I now can appreciate any call to silence and calm, reasonable contemplation of Life. Since, after all, humans want to feel they are connected to Life and living. Putting a “God” or even “Presence” label on Life doesn’t really help, in my opinion. In fact, often it gets in the way of. . .actual living.



2 thoughts on “Prayer or Silence?

  1. I am baffled that you think silence and prayer are necessarily and always mutually exclusive, or that prayer must consist of words.. I think prayer can be pure feeling, such as awe in the midst of nature such as the photos above suggest, or it could be expressed through the arts such as dance. if, of course, negative connotations are so deeply embedded in the concept of “prayer” for a someone no matter what, then by all means let that someone simply revel in the richness of nature, love and the mysterious swirl of existence.

  2. I appreciate your bafflement, Karen. Calling quiet moments “prayer” may be comforting for a spiritually inclined person, but what I’m suggesting here is that silence is simply silence. I learned that, in part, from Buddhists. For a religious person, “everything is prayer”– a connection with their image of the divine. I happen to think this can be a distraction from the simple joy of living. Indeed, prayer may be silent, but silence is not prayer. Otherwise, I suppose, one could say when a nonsupernaturalist like me is experiencing that “awe in nature” I am praying. My clergy spouse just read me a mystical text about a “Presence” in nature, experienced through silence. I get that. But this is not what silence is, for me.
    Thank you for commenting.

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