Taize the style of Christian worship practised by the ecumenical Taizé community in France, characterized by the repetitive singing of simple harmonized tunes, often in various languages, interspersed with readings, prayers, and periods of silence.
Silence & Prayer
If we take as our guide the oldest prayer-book, the biblical Psalms, we note two main forms of prayer. One is lament and cry for help. The other is thanksgiving and praise to God. On a more hidden level, there is a third kind of prayer, without demands or explicit expression of praise. In Psalm 131 there is nothing but quietness and confidence. “I have calmed and quite my soul hope in the Lord from this time on and forevermore.
At times prayer becomes silent. Peaceful communion with God can do without words. “I have calmed and quieted my soul like a weaned child with his mother”. Like the satisfied child who has stopped crying and is in its mother’s arms so can “my soul be with you” in the presence of god. Prayer then needs no words , maybe not even thoughts. Christ says “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12).
“We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.”
–Blessed Mother Teresa
We need silence in order to welcome these words and put them into practice. When we are agitated and restless, we have so many arguments and reasons not to forgive and not to love too easily. But when we have calmed and quieted our soul these reasons turn out to be quite insignificant. Maybe we sometimes avoid silence preferring whatever noise, words or distraction because inner peace is a risky thing: it makes us empty and poor, disintegrates bitterness and leads us to the gift of ourselves. Silent and poor our hearts are overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit filled with an unconditional love. Silence is a humble yet secure path to loving.
Taken from the Taize Website
God is silent and yet speaking
Loud words certainly make themselves heard; they are impressive. But we also know that they hardly touch the hearts. They are resisted rather than welcomed. Elijah’s experience shows that God does not want to impress, but to be understood and accepted. God chose “a sound of sheer silence” in order to speak. This is a paradox. When God’s word becomes “a sound of sheer silence”, it is more efficient than ever to change our hearts. The heavy storm on mount Sinai was splitting rocks, but god’s silent word is able to break open human hearts of stone. For Elijah himself the sudden silence was probably more fearsome than the storm and thunder. The loud and mighty manifestations of God were somehow familiar to him. God’s silence is disconcerting, so very different from all Elijah knew before.
A talkative soul lacks both the essential virtues and intimacy with God. A deeper interior life, one of gentle peace and of that silence where the Lord dwells, is quite out of the question. A soul that has never tasted
the sweetness of inner silence is a restless spirit which disturbs the silence of others.
–St. Faustina, Divine Mercy in My Soul
Silence makes us ready for a new meeting with God. in silence, God’s word can reach the hidden corners of our hearts. In silence, it proves to be “sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides the soul from spirit” (Hebrews 4: 12) In silence , we stop hiding before God, and the light of Christ can reach and heal and transform even what we are ashamed of.
Taken from the Taize Website
“Answered prayer is the interchange of love between the Father and His child.”
“Prayer can solve more problems, alleviate more suffering, prevent more transgression, and bring about greater peace and contentment in the human soul than can be obtained in any other way.”
Thomas S. Monson
The primary purpose is to praise, to sing, to chant. Because the essence of prayer is a song, and man cannot live without a song.
Prayer may not save us. But prayer may make us worthy of being saved.”
Abraham Joshua Heschel, Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audac
“The goal of prayer is to live all of my life and speak all of my words in the joyful awareness of the presence of God.
Prayer becomes real when we grasp the reality and goodness of God’s constant presence with ‘the real me.’ Jesus lived his everyday life in conscious awareness of his Father.”
John Ortberg Jr., The Me I Want to Be: Becoming God’s Best Version of You
Jesus prayed these age – old prayers of his people Christians have always found a wellspring of life in them. The psalms us in the great communion of all believers. Our joys and sorrows our trust in God our thirst and even our anguish find expression in the psalms.
One or two persons can alternate in reading or singing the verses of a psalm. after each verse, all respond with an Alleluia or another sung acclamation. If the verses are sung they should be short, usually two lines. In some cases, the congregation can hum final chord of the acclamation while the solo verses are being sung. If the verses are read and not sung, ,they can be longer. It is not necessary to read the entire psalm. Do not hesitate to choose just a few verses and always the most accessible.
In silence and quiet the devout soul advances in virtue and learns the hidden truths of Scripture.
–Imitation of Christ
Reading Scripture is a way of going to “the inexhaustible wellspring by which God gives himself to thirsting human beings” (Origen 3rd Century) The Bible is a “letter from God to creatures” that enables them “to discover God’s heart in God’s Words” (Gregory the Great 6th century. To open the gates of trust in God, nothing can replace the beauty of human voices untitled in song. This beauty can give us a glimpse of “Heaven’s joy on earth”, as Eastern Christians put it. And an inner life begins to blossom within us.
Taken from the Taize Website
“God, teach me to be patient, teach me to go slow,
Teach me how to wait on You when my way I do not know.
Teach me sweet forbearance when things do not go right
So I remain unruffled when others grow uptight.
Teach me how to quiet my racing, rising heart
So I might hear the answer You are trying to impart.
Teach me to let go, dear God, and pray undisturbed until
My heart is filled with inner peace and I learn to know your will.”
Helen Steiner Rice
“Praying and sinning will never live together in the same heart. Prayer will consume sin, or sin will choke prayer.”
J.C. Ryle, A Call to Prayer
“Don’t forget to pray today because God did not forget to wake you up this morning.”
Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest Journal
“It is of great importance, when we begin to practise prayer, not to let ourselves be frightened by our own thoughts.”
Teresa of Ávila, The Life of Saint Teresa of Ávila by Herself
“A man may study because his brain is hungry for knowledge, even Bible knowledge. But he prays because his soul is hungry for God.”
“Prayer is beyond any question the highest activity of the human soul. Man is at his greatest and highest when upon his knees he comes face to face with God.”
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones