How to Pray Quietly with a Friend

To know someone well is to know that you can be silent with them.

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Posted in , Feb 19, 2019

Sitting quietly

Do you ever sit with a friend and just pray in silence? No words shared, just the sense of God’s presence felt. 

As I’ve written before, I use my commuting time on the subway for prayer. I even wrote a book about my spiritual journey called Finding God on the A Train, now part of a special two-book offering from Guideposts called Prayer Works.

One evening a week ago, as I was taking the A train home, I had my eyes closed and was meandering into a much needed meditative state.

Halfway home, the train stopped at 59th Street. I opened my eyes for a minute and noticed a neighbor get on and sit next to me. She had her ear buds plugged in and was listening to something.

She noticed me, and we both got ready to chat. But I could see from the expression on her face that she needed to keep listening to her ear buds—after a long day at work—and I didn’t really want to give up the prayer time.

“What are you listening to?” I asked. She described a book that was completely absorbing.

“I tell you what,” I said. “You keep listening, and I’ll go back to meditating and when we get to 145th Street, let’s chat.”

“Perfect,” she said.

To know someone well is to know that you can be silent with them. To sit in silence with God is a chance to know God well and let God know you. 

At 145th I opened my eyes, and she took out her ear buds, and we caught up on our family’s news—her teenaged son’s worries about getting into college, my kids, our work.

We got off the train at 181st Street and walked home. “Thanks for that,” she said. “Thank you,” I said. Both of us grateful for our time together.

Sharing silence takes a good friend.

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