There is a great difference in excellency, usefulness, and comfort between people of clear, digested knowledge, and confused, undigested apprehensions. -Richard Baxter

perhaps our most embarrassing lack

Brother Roger took James’ words of being “quick to listen, slow to speak” and established an entire sacred space around them. Taize is a Catholic retreat center in southern France where pilgrims, both Catholic and Protestant, seek a quieter, more devotedly prayerful refuge. Brother Roger was killed two weeks ago by a deranged woman. His desire to make capacious room for prayer is not thwarted though.

Why do we find lingering silence so unnerving? Why, when we gather in groups to pray do we feel the need to either cut short or fill up the moments of “nothing?”


  Seth wrote @

When I hear the word “silence” used in the biblical/praying setting, I think of “waiting on God.” The Bible, the psalms in particular, speak frequently of waiting on God. Lamentations 3 says, “It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”

But to me, there are different types of prayer. There’s the “active voice” of crying out to God, praising him, thanking him, etc. And then there’s the “silent voice.” Where the individual/group “waits” for God. I think of it normally as waiting for the will of God.

I know you’d agree Patrick, but one type of prayer is better or holier than another. In fact, we should imitate and discipline ourselves to learn to pray like those examples in the Bible.

I think it’s a shame that we do struggle with silent prayer. The closest I normally get to it is being in nature and enjoying and taking in God’s creation. But even then, I can be silent and just take in the surroundings for about 10 seconds before my mind gets antsy.

Definitely a topic worth discussing.

  sophigirl wrote @

Hey, I just looked at this for the first time – I am very glad to discover that we have such an “inspiring” blog.

I have recently discovered for myself the writings of Tomas Merton, “Thoughts in Solitude” in particular. It’s all about meditation in solitude of your mind and being silent before God – something I so desperately lack in my life!

Also, we have a retreat center (http://www.montserratretreat.org/)like this in Dallas, run by Jesuits, but it costs you to get in. Maybe when I’m “rich”, I’ll be able to afford a little silence in my life (ha!)


  Patrick Lafferty wrote @

Indeed, Seth, there are innumerable kinds of praying. Perhaps we’re in an age where our best praying will come out of extended periods of silence. The contemplative life has been monopolized recently by the eastern religions, to our shame (we’re ashaemd not because they have it and we don’t, but that our capacity to dialogue with them and to express our faith in the supremacy of Christ might very well emerge from appealing to the quiet to find His voice, to find our voice from Him….)

  House Cleaning Spot wrote @

Really nice site you have here. I’ve been reading for a while but this post made me want to say 2 thumbs up. Keep up the great work

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