I have not yet mastered God’s language of prayer. Call me a novice, a newbie, and beginner. That is my update since I wrote my meditation, “The Language of Prayer,” two years ago. It has been almost thirty years since I lived with my college roommate, Magguy. I am still learning how to converse with Jesus as the Holy One so that I listen more than I interrupt what he has to say.
Magguy and I shared a dorm room the second semester of my freshman year at the University of Evansville in Evansville, Indiana. In the attached vintage photo from 1990, we are posed in front of Olmstead Administration Hall, our main campus building. I am the blond. Magguy’s big, loud laugh and her fascination with snow are forever etched in my memory.
My sophomore year, Magguy transferred to a neighboring college to complete her education before she married the love of her life and moved to Georgia. We have stayed in touch with phone calls, emails, social media messages, and visits. Please do not ask her about the time I feebly attempted to help her with her hair.
In 1993 I graduated from UE, completed my music therapy internship, and then moved to North Carolina for seminary at Duke Divinity School. Through all of those moments and the years beyond, I have sought the companionship of other prayer partners and prayer groups. What I learned from Magguy is that I get better at praying the more I pray with people who love Jesus.
The more frequently and routinely the prayers of others are spoken around me, the more I grow as a person of prayer. I pray with people who speak other languages. I pray with people who speak in tongues and languages of praise. Old, young, wise, silly, developmentally delayed, and hearing impaired persons have all helped me hear God’s voice.
I pray with folks who look like me and folks who don’t look like me. Through all of these experiences, my soul needed to listen to their tone and cadence, in whatever language they prayed through, and certainly to hear whatever words or deep sighs they offered. Their prayers and manner of praying better developed my soul’s ability to listen.
I am not sure when I expect to “graduate” from prayer school; or if I am ever supposed to stop learning?! And maybe that is the mystery of growing more like Jesus. Each moment of our day has potential to tune us into the Holy Spirit’s still small voice.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
View a growing list of resources for the spiritual work of overcoming racism.