I’m sitting here this morning, amping for a day of pushing a project through what seems a tiny keyhole, and I notice my nephew eating his breakfast. He shoves half a sausage biscuit into his mouth, smiles, folds his arms across his chest, curls his toes leisurely under his feet on the floor and notices no one.
I stare. He’s clueless.
He squeezes his fingers around another piece of biscuit. The sausage previously consumed, he breaks off a chunk of banana and squishes it between the last bits of bread. His head bobs as he chews. No doubt a lingering tune pops into mind. His size eight feet begin to catch the silent beat.
I marvel at his enjoyment, his complete consummation of the moment.
It’s a picture of my thoughts this morning as I consider the simple wonder of silence as prayer. How consuming a moment, savoring its worth, reflects in appreciation of the One who brought me into it. Caleb ate quickly, but at the same time, he sat down and savored, appreciating the Lord’s provision without a single word.
With much of my time spoken for today by necessary activity, I opened the day lamenting, longing for time to push words from my heart. I want connection. I want to consider and express thanksgiving out loud, in community. But I don’t have time for words, or for lingering conversation, even with God.
Or, do I?
Margaret Feinberg, in her upcoming book WONDERSTRUCK, describes a time when God asked her to pare back her prayers. To three words. Instead of filling up spaces of time him-hawing and editing to exact the right phrase or with lengthy expressions of everything without saying anything, she spoke simply. For friends struggling in their marriage, she offered a simplified request. Among the words she prayed, Heal. Reconcile. Restore. She allowed the essence of each word to fill the silence that followed. As she spoke the word “healing,” God knew the full expression of her petition.
By practicing this type of communication, she began to be more deliberate with her word choices. And she experienced sweeter intimacy with God in the surrounding silence.
Perhaps with this picture of Caleb before me and Margaret’s encouragement, I can release my desire for lingering conversation today and enter into the consummation of the moments before me, full and rich and meaningful. I’ll call out to God with a single word for the impact of my work on this generation. I’ll ask Him to receive my offering and run with it. I’ll be grateful for His promise of restoration. All in three words. And I’ll let their essence linger in the silence. God be near.
Healing. Release. Hope.
What kind of communication do you have time for in this busy season of holiday preparation? Project completion? Search for employment? Savor the value of the moments as they come. Be all in. And be deliberate with the few seconds of silence you have by choosing three words to express your thanks or petitions. Let their essence fill in where you would normally go into explanation. Trust the Lord to hear and to know.
Friends. Family. Grateful.