Are you ever disappointed by the words you pray? As I prayed aloud in my car recently it suddenly occurred to me that what I was praying was not entirely what I was feeling in my heart. I was perplexed I must say, in that moment. But, then I thought, ‘This is okay. God knows my heart, and his words for my soul’s emotion are sufficient.’ But what of my own understanding? Should it be that I go on never really knowing what it is I should be saying in my prayer?
In this way, prayer can be a struggle. But, if prayer can be conformed to routine—habit if you will, practise supposedly makes perfect. Perhaps perfect practice makes perfect. No matter, vocalised words do somehow fail us at times, whether we speak them to God or others, just as the written word sometimes meets the heart-intent, yet at other times it strangely eludes us; we and our words are like two ships passing in the night.
In this way, words are highly overrated. We confine a myriad of experience—thought and feeling—to the mind’s known vocabulary and we’re robbed. Grand larceny. No wonder we’re left emptied handed, empty minded, and disposed of all the true value to human experience; the truest blessings of God, no less.
Then the thought creeps in... we see the light flicker and then remain. This person gets it. The prayer of silence breaks over our conscious grey matter, massaging the very reality of our conscious minds. ‘Brilliant!’ is the personal battle cry. At last we see a way that the meaning in our hearts is captured resplendently for our souls—though we often know it not.
By the very fact at times our prayers make little sense to us in comparison to how our heart truly feels means something of godly significance for us—it’s a sign from him that we bring our own humanity to the table of the Divine. High treason. There’s no place for it. Yet, grace pervades. He actually allows for it! Amazing! Prayer, still, the best of it, is beyond words—indeed, it’s beyond meaning and thought.
Well, in the end it doesn’t matter really. Whether we speak or not, the heart combines with our words, our thoughts, or our nothings—God hears and heeds what’s truly in our hearts, and even beyond to our realities, of which we’re hardly even (or ever will be) cognisant of, praise Jesus.
© 2009 S. J. Wickham.