If you’re reading a counselor’s blog (and you are), then you are likely familiar with the concept that the vast majority of communication is nonverbal communication; even when two people are having a conversation as much is communicated by facial expression, body posture, hand movement, and subjective disposition as is communicated by words.
Here is the question for this post – what is the prayer equivalent? What, if anything, communicates as much to God as our words in prayer? For the moment, I would like for you to consider the possible answer – humility.
What does humility communicate?
- “Life requires more than I have on my own.”
- “I am eager to hear from God and other people.”
- “I am willing to own my faults and shortcomings.”
- “I want to see others thrive and succeed.”
- “I am willing for God to get the credit.”
- “I recognize that even my success can be a temptation.”
- “I am willing to engage tasks where I may not succeed.”
- “I am eager to say ‘thank you’ to those who contribute good things to my life.”
- “I am willing to trust God with control of my life.”
- “I am willing to receive correction.”
- “I am willing to give correction gently because I am as concerned about the person as I am the outcome.”
Just like our disposition communicates important information to other people, our disposition also communicates to God. Read through the list above and ask yourself how each disposition of humility would fuel your prayer life.
When we treat the virtue of humility as dispositional prayer (being more mindful of how humility communicates the messages above) we will become more conversational in our prayer life (naturally speaking these messages to God).
When we begin to treat humility as dispositional prayer, we can truly “pray without ceasing” (I Thes. 5:17). We will have a perpetual God-orientation that acknowledges our need for him and prompts us to speak to God more often, about more things, more genuinely, and on behalf of more people.
As you reflect on this possibility, consider this quote from C.S. Lewis.
“Do not imagine that if you meet a really humble man he will be what most people call ‘humble’ nowadays: he will not be a sort of greasy, smarmy person, who is always telling you that, of course, he is nobody. Probably all you will think about him is that he seemed a cheerful, intelligent chap who took a real interest in what you said to him. If you do dislike him it will be because you feel a little envious of anyone who seems to enjoy life so easily. He will not be thinking about humility: he will not be thinking about himself at all (p. 128).” Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
With this added reflection we begin to see that humility, like prayer, is the path to lasting joy and fulfillment. Prayer is an essential part of how God shapes us into the people he designed us to be.
If this post was beneficial for you, then consider reading other blogs from my “Favorite Posts on Spiritual Disciplines” post which address other facets of this subject.