Silence the whirring machine


Children work on an industrial revolution-era machine. Photo credit.

Romans 8:26-27 NRSV: Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

As human beings we love to think about things. God gifted us with brains, the power of reason, to enable us to perform our daily work, to build the framework of our physical lives. The mind is a powerful and beautiful tool.

But, it is a tool. It is an implement to be used for specific purposes: to understand and shape the physical world God has given into our care. When we seek to become one with God, however, that tool can get in our way.

This is not because reason and faith are contradictory or mutually exclusive. On the contrary, they complement each other, as do all facets of God’s creation. But, when we want to speak with God in the Spirit, the mind is like a whirring machine in the background, distracting and competing for attention with the noise of a million details of yesterday and tomorrow – details that have nothing to do with our present moment in God.

To “pray as we ought” we must silence the mind, turn off the whirring machine. In the silence behind our thoughts the Spirit is able to speak to and through us “with sighs too deep for words,” with meaning that surpasses thought. And in that exchange – the communion between God and our true selves – the Spirit moves and directs us, and is freed to express God’s will through us into the world.

Lord, help us to hear you in the silence behind our thoughts. Let your Spirit move through us in ways too beautiful for words. May our minds, and all our other tools, be used today only for your will. Amen.

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