It seems simple to say that we best answer to the call to prayer by praying. What other choice is there? How else could one answer it?
But really, hearing a call to pray is not a single note song. Like all revelation, it is intensely personal. Prayer, as A Course in Miracles frequently observes, takes the form that best serves us in the place and time we believe we occupy. What’s going to fulfill the call for one person would not be practical for another and vice-versa.
Answering the call, then, is part and parcel of really hearing the call – and being clear on who is calling and what’s being said. Hearing the voice of God and understanding its directives is on the one hand the easiest thing in the world because it’s the most natural. Yet how easily the egoic mind waltzes in and gets it all twisted and confused. It’s like the snake in the garden, introducing doubt.
The call to prayer will be felt most intensely in an interior way. In the new testament, we often see Jesus praying alone. We recall the admonition that we should pray in quiet and solitude, not publicly with great fanfare. And we are ever careful to hold in mind that prayer is not about vocally informing God of our needs, but rather entering into a state of receptivity where we can hear and experience God in a spiritually intimate way.
If you long to pray – even if you have no idea what that means, even if the idea feels revolting or confusing – then pray. Fall to your knees and say out loud, “God give me a hand here. I’ve got no idea what I’m doing.”
Don’t want to try that? Go to church and talk to a priest or a minister. Find a rabbi and see what the Torah has to say on the subject. Conflate prayer with meditation and check out any of the many options for learning about meditation that are spread out across virtually every community.
There is a line in the bible that the spirit intercedes in our efforts at prayer with “sighs and groans” too great for words. All we have to do is bring a little bit of willingness to the process. If we hear it, then we need to be willing to try it. Once we’re in the space of openness, of receptivity, then all kinds of things can happen.
Answering the call to prayer then is about taking the first small step without worrying too much about what the step is or where it’s going to lead. Your part is to say yes. The rest of it – the details – are up to God.