“Listen Lord, Listen Lord, not to our words but to our prayers. You alone, you alone, understand and care.”
The lyrics above are from a song from the Taizé community in France. I led a Taizé-style worship for a while and know the song well, but the meaning of it never hit me until last week.
I’ve never been much of a pray-er. I’ve tried various types and styles and methods, but nothing has ever really stuck for me. I struggle with that. After all, I’m in seminary, I’m studying to be a pastor, shouldn’t I be good at praying?
But we were singing this song in worship last week, and I was feeling totally overwhelmed by the experience of being in a new place, juggling new responsibilities, and trying to figure out who I am in this new role that is “vicar,” when suddenly it hit me. Maybe my problem is I have been defining prayer too narrowly. Prayer doesn’t have to be carefully composed soliloquies. (As one of my favorite bloggers points out: “I leave that to the real professionals like Thomas Cramner and the Blessed Mother.”) God doesn’t need my words; God hears my prayers. Even the ones I don’t know or cannot speak; the ones “too deep for words” (Rom. 8:26).
And not only does God hear, but God cares. The God who is creator of the universe and Lord of all, cares about the worries and concerns of one small, lonely intern in upstate New York. This is, as Dr. Satterlee would say, some good news.