Mother Theresa was once asked about her prayer life.

The interviewer asked, “When you pray, what do you say to God?”

Mother Teresa replied, “I don’t talk, I simply listen.”

Believing he understood what she had just said, the interviewer next asked, “Ah, then what is it that God says to you when you pray?”

Mother Teresa replied, “He also doesn’t talk.  He also simply listens.”

There was a long silence, with the interviewer seeming a bit confused and not knowing what to ask next.

Finally Mother Teresa breaks the silence by saying, “If you can’t understand the meaning of what I’ve just said, I’m sorry but there’s no way I can explain it any better.”

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset“Teach me how to pray.”

this well-known request made to Jesus by his disciples in the Gospel of Luke has come to me often over the past 2-months, in those moments that I feel invited into intimate, one-on-one conversation with God.  It’s come to my mind because, really, right now I’m just finding it hard to pray, I’m wondering what I should say in prayer—is there a better formula?—and I’m wondering whether to pray at all…

it is not the first season in life I have struggled to pray.  it is not the first time I have felt as though I really do not know what or how to pray.  it is in these seasons I turn to sojourners of the faith, both dead and alive, for direction.  I turn to coffee conversations, ancient words, art and books, seeking a word that resonates and makes sense in light of the journey I am on with God these days.

I think I am starting to understand what Mother Teresa meant when she spoke of prayer being a mutual listening between her and God.

I am starting to understand the words I found on the Work of the People website today:

Often our listening is at the surface of things – we hear what we want to hear.  This practice of deep listening is what allows us to become aware of the patterns and shadows of our life.  Deep listening is a disciplined mind and attentive.  Deep listening is seeing that our emotions and our thoughts are not who we are.  Deep listening leads to a liberated spirit.

I think I am starting to understand that silence in the midst of a chatter-filled world and mind can be a gift that offers rest, clarity, healing, and a deeper understanding of Love’s presence in the world… in my life.

I am definitely starting to understand and vibe with the thought that prayer is not asking or trying to convince God to create a world… my life is that of my own choosing… prayer is becoming a practice where I open my heart and mind to God, being honest about my doubts, pains and, even, my fears of entrusting my heart and mind to a Love beyond my understanding; it is listening to God’s voice that resides deep within.

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