In Silence

Responsive prayers by Thomas Robb, appropriate for use in Advent or Lent, or anytime that calls for silent prayer. 

In silence, or aloud, give thanks to God for all that we have… all that we are… all that we may become – be it broken, or complete, or somehow, both.

Praying Hands


In silence… give up to God all of your concerns …for the church… for all who have become Jesus’ hands caring for all people… for all whose labor makes our lives possible… for all of creation.


In silence… I beg you pray for all in authority of any sort… the nearly good, the mostly bad, the merely annoying, and the altogether misguided. God alone knows which is which. God loves them all anyway.


In silence… pray for all who weep… all who suffer… all who hang on by their fingernails… all who are lost and bereft of hope.


In silence… pray for all who have departed this life, (particularly….) and all who mourn them.


In the sacred wilderness, we may easily get lost in a windstorm of words. Therefore make peace with the limits of language, and stare, deafened by the silence, at what lies beyond.*


When we have eaten our words until they sicken us, when nothing we tell ourselves makes a dent in our hunger for God, let us be struck dumb and, unarmed with words, enter into the Holy of Holies of the unsay-able God.*



 These prayers were first used on 16 March 2014 (Lent II) at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Port Townsend, Washington.

I especially like Tom’s use of direct, colloquial language in this prayers that pull me into silence.

*from When God is Silent by Barbara Brown Taylor

2 thoughts on “In Silence

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  1. I like your memories of church as a child. I wonder if responsive reading could find a place in the secular world. It is a powerful way to bring people together.


    1. Thanks, Rose. Yes, I agree about the power of responsive prayer. That’s interesting, to think about accomplishing what responsive prayer does, but outside of an explicitly religious framework. Hmmm.


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