To pray is to listen, to move through my own chattering to God, to that place where I can be silent and listen to what God may have to say.
- Madeleine L’Engle
There’s a saying attributed to Francis of Assisi: “Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.”
It’s had me thinking about ways to improve my relationship with God by using what I do as an act of prayer. Here are six silent devotions I came up with to start:
1. Perform a secret act of love.
Do something for someone else, for God’s eyes alone.
2. Notice an invisible person.
Look on the fringes of coffee hour, at the PTA meeting or at who’s handing you change at the grocery. Find a quiet way to acknowledge that they’re there, even if it’s just a smile.
3. Bite back one critical comment, for Jesus’s sake.
Just one. When you get good at it, go for two.
4. Get to know a non-Christian better.
Find out what God loves in him and learn to love it, too.
5. Practice being last.
Allow someone else to go first: in line, when merging in traffic, in speaking at a meeting. Work on finding a balance between assertiveness and humility.
6. Notice an unspoken need.
Ramp up your powers of observation, actively looking for people God has set in your path so that you can help them.
What can you add to the list?
Julia Attaway is a freelance writer, homeschooler and mother of five. She is the editor of Daily Guideposts: Your First Year of Motherhood, a book of devotions for first-time moms. She lives in New York.