Teach me the power and strength of silence
that I may go into the world
as still as a mouse
in the depths of my heart.
God answers us in the flesh of our experiences -- physical, emotional, intellectual, imaginative, spiritual. Prayers change us when we are answered by an expansion of self, by more self made more accessible to us. The words with which we pray to God lead us into ourselves, to hear that primary speech so actively discoursing within ourselves. New thoughts come to mind; we see new communications between things we were thinking. New ideas of what we should be doing spring up; a new willingness to do what we are doing arises. Old duties, as regular and onerous as daily housekeeping or office tasks, seem to fall into place and become less weighty and preoccupying. Energy to improvise and imagine different courses of action and ways of seeing things comes to us.
One way prayers are answered is through this enlivening of self. We feel not only more alive and real but more our own selves. As we expand, life expands ... the space of our being seems to become larger and more porous, more open and less buttressed ... we pay more attention to our own reactions, which now indicate to us what to move on to next -- where to seek forgiveness from someone, where to keep silent; where to offer help to someone, where not to interfere ... we become more grateful and see better how much there is to be thankful for ... we reach for the other and are given more of our self ... we reach into our self and are given more of others.