Silence and listening can be very enriching tools. I don't think we nurture them enough.
Sometimes prayer should be more about listening. Sometimes the spiritual journey should be more about silence and less about my poor attempts at articulation.
On a slightly unrelated note, this morning in church I got to steal a few moments with an older woman (I'll call her, "Ruth") I hold very dearly to my heart. Ruth is one of those people from whom with every encounter, I gain deep wisdom about life. Unfortunately for me, I've never been able to spend more than ten minutes at a time with her (note to self: ask Ruth out to coffee).
Since I always learn something from Ruth, I generally just like to listen to her tell me about her life in general (young people: seriously, listen to the elder people in your church. They honestly know what they're talking about). Recently over the past year, Ruth has been experiencing great pains that come with getting older. A very active person throughout her whole life, she is grappling with having to be seated for most of her days. Though she had found solace and joy in swimming, a recent shoulder injury has kept her from even this simple pleasure. She urged me to enjoy my youth and health now. "I didn't appreciate what I had," Ruth told me. "I was always thinking about what I wanted: a fuller chest, smaller hips, and so on, that I didn't appreciate being able to move."
Can we please all take that to heart? Let's stop focusing on criticizing ourselves and praise the Lord for the ability to move and be young and healthy. And if we are not young or healthy, let's pray and ask God how he might strengthen us in order that we may help encourage others.
God can use us. Let's let him.