I like the silent church before the service begins, better than any preaching.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
A silent church or chapel is a wonderful thing. I remember my days in high school quite well. As I was searching for my vocation, I did everything that I could do to keep close to God. I was a member of the prayer group at my home parish and almost every night I would go to my parish to be alone with God.
I counted myself lucky because ours was one of the few parishes at that time that was open twenty-fours a day. I would often be at the church at 10:00 or 11:00 p.m., sitting in the dark, and spending time with God. The silence spoke louder than any words ever could.
Sometimes, I would add a little noise to the silence by singing softly. The quiet chant in the dark church helped me to focus even more on the presence of God.
The Season of Lent extends an invitation to us to pray in ways that we may not do on a regular basis. Devotionals, spiritual readings, and paraliturgical services are all ways that we are encouraged to reflect upon God’s love.
At our parish, on Wednesday evenings during Lent, we have a Taize prayer service. Taize prayer got its start in France. It is an ecumenical prayer that helps a person to focus on the Lord by repetitive chant, readings, and prayers. It is done in a significantly darkened space with the flicker of candles being the main means of light. The candles combined with the repetitive singing helps calm a person so that he or she may concentrate upon God.
If you have never been to a Taize prayer service, this season might be the time to begin. It sounds crazy to describe it this way but Taize prayer is “silent prayer with words and song added”.
If you only pray a certain way, Lent is a time to get out of your comfort zone and try something new. Perhaps in the trying a new manner of prayer, you might make new discoveries in your spiritual life.
FAITH ACTION: Spend a good deal of time in silent prayer today. Or, if you are able, attend Taize Prayer in the church at 7:00 p.m.