Saturday, June 4, 2011

Whispered prayer

Photo credit:  Keely Scott
I learn a lot by reading.  This week, I've been reading the posts of some bloggers from the U.S. as they traveled to the Philippines with Compassion International.  As expected, I've learned about Compassion's work there, about some specific kids and families that Compassion serves, and about how this particular group of writers responded when they came face-to-face with real poverty.  I learned some things that I didn't expect to learn, too.

One blogger, Emily Freeman, briefly mentioned how the staff of the Compassion Child Development Center that they visited in Manila asked to pray for the group before they left.  Expecting someone to pray aloud, they instead heard all of the staff praying just above a whisper.  Loud enough for the group to barely hear them praying but quiet enough for them to understand that the object of their prayers were not the people standing in that room but the One who hears our prayers.  Whispered prayer.

I wonder how my public prayer might be different if I were to simply whisper my prayers rather than speaking aloud?  I wonder if I might be less focused on saying things that sound right to the people around me and more focused on speaking honestly and openly to the One to whom the prayer is directed?  Does it really matter that I hear the words of one of who is praying on my behalf?  Can their words get in the way of my appreciation that they are interceding for me with the One who has the power to change the course of history?

I know there have been times that I have been moved by the prayers of others and I appreciate that hearing someone lift another up to God is inspiring and encouraging.  I also know that there have been times that I have heard prayers spoken that I'm pretty sure just bounced off the ceiling, never heard by the only audience that really matters.  Much as I hate to admit it, sometimes those prayers have been mine.  I cringe when I hear someone say,  "You know, he/she can really pray a beautiful prayer" because it's often associated with someone who uses melodic or lofty language in their prayers.  I don't want to be that kind of pray-er.  I want to be the the pray-er who is concerned not by what others think when they hear my prayers but on what God thinks when He hears my prayers.  If that takes whispering my public prayers, then so be it.

What do you think about whispered prayer?

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