Expanding on Peterson's thought in this book, when we are born we quickly are thrown into learning language.
The first language we learn is that of intimacy. It is that language that we hear parents speaking to their children, or what loves speak to one another over candlelight. It is what we hear in the book the Song of Solomon in the Bible. And according to Peterson, it is the language of prayer.
There are fewer ways to quickly quiet a room than to simply say, "let us pray." Even the non-religious people in the room become quiet. We become quiet because, at some level, everyone recognizes that what is about to be said will be said in another language. Prayers are spoken in the language of relationship and everyone respects the intimacy of this language. Which might explain why we all become quiet.
We also could all become quiet because we know that in a prayer we are all about to hear a language that is both familiar and foreign. It is like a dream or déjà vu. We listen to a language that we once used so often but, for many of us, it has been a while since we accessed it. It is like riding a bike after years of driving, it takes a moment but in short time it all comes back to us.
As we value more and more the languages of information and motivation, we find ourselves seeking out those who still are fluent in our common native tongue. You see a baby and cannot help but listen to her babble in the hopes you will be able to hear what she has to say. You find a poet who speaks with a rhythm that moves your soul. You find a teacher that uses the same words you use everyday but yet says them differently.
We are desperate for those who know and use our native language of intimacy and relationships, and the most common way to hear it is through a collective prayer.
There are so few who speak this tongue fluently and there are so many of us who feel out of practice.
Which is why when we hear, "let us pray", we all become silent - hoping once again to hear the language of our home.