by Søren Kierkegaard
AS A PERSON becomes more earnest in prayer, he has less and less to say, and in the end he is quite silent. He becomes silent. Indeed he becomes a hearer. He thought that to pray was to speak. He learned that prayer is not only to keep silence, but to listen.
And so it is. Prayer is not to hear oneself speak, but to arrive at silence, and continue being silent; to wait till one hears God speak.
Hence it is that the word of the Gospel, "Seek ye first God's kingdom," not only says "No" to every question as to whether it is this we must do, but says, "You shall begin by praying." Not as though prayer always begins in silence, but because when prayer really has become prayer, then it has become silence, and that is to seek first God's kingdom.
From Meditations from Kierkegaard, translated and edited by T.H. Croxall (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1955).