Perspectives: "Prayer is to accept being a non-orphan” says Br.Émile of the Taizé Community

Jenna Murphy

March 12, 2010
Last week we posted the question: “Does prayer require effort?” As is the case every week, we anticipated uniformity in our answers but were surprised at the diversity (and thoughtfulness) in the responses.brother_taize
One such thoughtful answer came to us from Haiku Hamu who asks: “Is there ever any genuine value in the things that are effortless?”
Haiku’s thoughts were echoed by several others including  Mary Swanson: “You should put in an effort as you put in the effort to talk to a friend because praying is talking to a friend -- and that friend is God,” she wrote.
In his first letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul clearly asserts that “winning the race” is not a passive enterprise:
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)
Nearly half of those who wrote in asserted that a relationship with God is an “open line of communication” because as Devin Watkins puts it, “God is powerful enough to hear all of your prayers without effort”.
On today’s Perspectives, we are talking to Brother Émile of the Taizé Community in France. An ecumenical community of brothers, their roots reach back as early as the 1940s,  when founder Brother Roger began to perceive a call to communal monastic life.
“What goes on Taize is that we try to make the sources of trust accessible to young adults today,” Brother Émile told us when he visited Salt + Light, “many people today do not have the vocabulary that would enable them to approach the Christian mystery; prayer seems complicated. Brother Roger used to say: Faith is a simple trust in God, so simple that all can welcome it. He would also say: the desire for God is already the beginning of faith.”
The interview with this Taizé brother, like the prayerful music his community produces, is sure to fill you with renewed conviction and devotion as we come to the midpoint in our Lenten journey.
Tune in tonight at 7pm or 11pm ET/8pm PT, or Sunday March 14th at the same times, for our featured conversation with Brother Émile as he shares how we can live a life of prayer from wherever we find ourselves; in the midst of the serene French countryside, or otherwise.
As always, keep checking the S+L Facebook page where we always make sure to keep you in the loop.