“If you have ears to hear, listen,” Jesus repeatedly says. It is the first act of the art of prayer, the middle act, and the last act. Over time we find the wisest and most humble among us understand prayer to be “nothing but listening.”
In 1980 Dan Rather interviewed Mother Teresa:
Dan Rather: “When you pray, what do you say to God?”
Mother Teresa: “I don’t say anything; I listen.”
DR: “Well, then, when God speaks to you, what does he say?”
MT: “He doesn’t say anything. He listens… and if you don’t understand that, I can’t explain it.”
Quoted in “with” by Skye Jethani
Inexplicable, but not without gaining understanding. Learning to pray often reveals our constant novice status when we think we ought to have graduated. But as Mother Teresa reveals, we are always just learners, we are always just listeners.
I, who live by words, am wordless when
I try my words in prayer. All
To silence. Prayer will take my words
Reveal their emptiness. The stifled voice learns
To hold its peace, to listen with the heart
To silence that is joy, is adoration.