Primary speech isn’t necessarily about words. Primary speech refers to a person’s development of language, both in forming words and in recognizing who is communicating. It’s the cooing of a child in her mother’s arms, the eye-to-eye contact that says you’re recognized, listened to, and valued. Primary speech establishes necessary connections that sustain us, bringing life and forming community.
When Job tells God, I know that you can do all things (v. 2), he knows that he’s been heard, understood, and valued by the Creator of the universe. This is the same Creator who called all life into being and placed the limits on that life. What the writer describes is similar to the experience of prayer. Job concurs. He moves from knowing of God to an experience that involves personal pronouns: but now my eye sees you (v. 5). Job asks us to move from reading this drama to our own experience of talking to and speaking for God. Our scenes involve the joy and pain that is vivid to us, where God is the author of all that is a blessing, and where we wonder what role God plays in all that is painful. Job’s prayers model a radical response to life itself.
Radical prayer must be foundational. It must be our primary speech, at the center of all that I am, all that you are, all that we are. Praying will undergird us while we write, work, love, walk, play, and give. Prayer is the practice for deep, purposeful living; it takes us from our initial insecurities to our finding the courage to be and create. Prayer connects us to each other and to our planet through God, the very source of our being. We begin by simply acknowledging that we live unto God: “Lord, in you we live and move and have our being.” The primary speech of prayer is our compass for the daily journey of seeking understanding.
Think of a time in your life that felt most sacred to you, a “thin place” where God was close. How would you describe that experience?
Maker of Heaven and Earth, remind us that in your recognition of us, your tender care for us, we find ourselves. Amen.