Growing up, the only kind of prayer I knew was when someone attempted to “talk to God” out loud on behalf of the assembled people. It’s taken a long time for me to understand that there are more ways to pray than talking; prayer is also listening. For me, this has become the most important form of prayer. When I learn to listen for God I am also practicing how to listen to the Holy which comes from other people.
Listening deeply and listening actively are two different things. Listening actively is what we do when someone is talking to us and we are trying to understand the message lying underneath what they are saying. It’s what therapists are doing after they ask their client to expand on a topic.
Listening deeply is different in that we let go of our own thoughts and revel in the moment. The emotions of the people we are with become clearer, the surrounding environment speaks to us, the small sounds we don’t usually pay attention to like a cricket, leaves slapping against each other being pushed by the wind, the creaks of our own joints, and when we get practiced at it we can begin to experience that still small voice that Elijah found in the silence after the tumult.
Know you are blessed,