A reading for Thursday, March 9, 2017: Matthew 6:5-13.
Perhaps the greatest misconception about healthy prayer is that we are supposed to do all the talking. How many of us pray without ceasing, never quiet and listening? We ask for this and ask for that. We tell God what we are feeling and how we hope to be. We bring the concerns of the world before God's throne of mercy in prayer. All these are certainly worthy of prayer...
However, imagine any other relationship you might have in your life. Imagine that you went to lunch with a friend or your spouse or even one of your children. From the moment you sat down until the check was delivered to the table, what if you never stopped talking? The other person never got a chance to get a word in or even to respond to anything you were saying. How might we think our relationship with that person would turn out? What if we did that not once but over and over again throughout our relationship?
When Jesus instructs us in prayer in Matthew, he tells the disciples not to pray on the street corner or loudly that others might hear. Instead, go in a room and shut the door. Seek silence. Perhaps that's not so that they might dominate the conversation, but so that they might listen? Listening to God is just as important as talking to God.
""God speaks in the silence of the heart. Listening is the beginning of prayer."
- Mother Teresa