I often say/think too much about old-time Northern Irish Christians that isn’t all that nice. But tonight I repented.
Those of you from the North who’ve had any kind of long-time church upbringing will be familiar with the “prayer voice” – it is of the same ilk of the “sermon voice” and the “reading-the-bible voice” of which you may also be familiar. The tone of the voice is deep, the timbre tremulous, the speed carefully managed, the vocabulary often familiarly extended into extra syllables : “And we pra-ay dear Go-wod that thou’lt buh-less thy childeren that art covered with the buh-lood of the Lo-word Jee-sus Cuh-rist…”
If you’re familiar, you’ll be forgiven for a roll of the eyes or a chuckle. I certainly had to hide a smirk when I first heard it at a prayer meeting tonight.
But you know what? When this kind of voice is not accompanied by anger or criticism or inverted pride, but rather by humility and kindness and a depth of faith that has been steeping in years and Scripture, it is the most humbling, encouraging and beautiful thing ever.
I’m not sure anyone my age (or with my accent) knows how to pray like that.