More from Praying Like Monks, Living Like Fools by Tyler Staton:
We Don't Pray for Fear of Silence
Many people are pretty comfortable with the spirituality they've got, and prayer - as well as living like everything Jesus says about prayer is true - risks the possibility of silence.
"Silence is frightening because it strips us as nothing else does, throwing us upon the stark realities of our life," writes Dallas Willard, "And in that quiet, what if there turns out to be very little to 'just us and God'?"
What if I actually strip away the music and the community and the sermon, strip away all the noise of my familiar faith expression? Left with just me and God, what if I discover there's actually not much to just me and God?
Prayer means the risk of facing silence where we're addicted to noise. It's the risk of facing a God we've mastered talking about, singing about, reading about, and learning about. It means risking real interaction with that God, and the longer we've gotten used to settling for the noise around God, the higher the stakes. What if it's awkward or disappointing or boring, or what if God stands me up altogether?
When we've got that much to lose, prayer might be scarier than the avoidance of never being alone with God.
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Truth is...if my model for interacting with Yahweh is filled with crunching guitars, chest-pounding percussion (or teeth-rattling bass notes from a pipe organ, for that matter), and highly-amplified-but-mostly-cliche words of praise, the words of Psalm 46:10 can truly be frightening: "Be still and know that I am God."